Digitized by the Internet Archive
H A R E M L I K
SOME PAGES FROM THE LIFE OF
(MRS. KENNETH BROWN)
BOSTON AND NEW YORK
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY
COPYRIGHT, 1909, BY DEMETRA KENNETH BROWN
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Published May iqoq
To KENNETH BROWN
WHO HAS NOT CROSSED THE THRESHOLD OF A
HAREM, BUT WITHOUT WHOSE HELP THESE
FRIENDS OF MINE WOULD NEVER
HAVE CROSSED THEIRS
The contents of this book are not ficti-
tious, unusual as parts of it may appear to
American readers. There has been some
rearranging of facts, to make for compact-
ness — incidents of several days have some-
times been told as of one. Substantially,
however, everything is true as told.
I. Coming Home to Turkey .... i
II. MiHiRMAH 30
III. DjIMLAH, THE THINKER, SeLIM PA-
sha's Fourth Wife 59
IV. Valid6 H anoum, the Resigned First
V. The Gift-Wife from the Sultan's
VI. HouLME H ANOUM, THE Discontented 129
VII. Suffragettes of the Harem . .153
VIII. The Love of Nor-Sembah and Ha-
KiF Bey 191
IX. A Day's Entertainment in the Ha-
X. A Flight from the Harem . . . 249
COMING HOME TO TURKEY
The mist was slowly lifting — so slowly
that one could imagine an invisible hand to
be reluctantly drawing aside veils from the
face of nature. As the air became clearer,
the slender minarets were seen first above
the other buildings ; and then, little by little,
Constantinople, Queen of Cities, revealed
herself to our hungry eyes. And as if Nature
were but Constantinople's handmaiden, the
last of the fog was suddenly transmuted to
glorious sunshine, that we might the more
surely be surprised and dazzled with the
beauty of the Sultan's capital.
The steamer slowly puffed onward. On
one side of us lay the seven-hilled city, where
all races dwell peacefully together; on the
other was Stamboul, the ancient capital of
Byzantium, with the remnants of its old wall,
and the ever famous Old Serai, dark and
mysterious as the crimes committed within
To the other passengers all was new and
thrilling, and they were rushing from one
side of the steamer to the other, exclaiming,
shouting, incapable, it seemed to me, of ap-
preciating the splendors nature was lavishing
before their eyes. The more beauty they
saw, the more they shouted, as if by power
of lung they could induce their souls to ad-
I sat quietly in my steamer-chair, too
much moved for any expression. To me it
was all familiar, and dear as it could not be to
casual tourists. I knew the lights and shad-
ows of this land, and loved them as one
loves one's native country ; for Constantinople
was my birthplace, as it had been that of all
my ancestors for seven centuries. But I knew
that the chorus of delight and admiration
would become critical as soon as we should
be landed. To me there was poetry in every-
thing; but these others would see only the
narrow, dirty streets; and the stray dogs —
most vitally characteristic of Turkey —
would be just so many snapping curs, howl-
ing and littering the streets.
Towards us there came a small tug, with
the same smokestack as that of our steamer,
and a conversation started between our cap-
tain and an inspector of the line. I heard the
words that passed between them in Italian,
and threw back my head and laughed.
"What is it, mademoiselle?" asked a
French colonel sitting beside me.
''We cannot land," I explained. Though
I had laughed, I was bitterly disappointed.
I felt as a mother must when her baby mis-
behaves before her friends.
''Why can we not land?"
For a minute I doubted whether it would
be wise for me to speak. Of the thirty-five
passengers I was the only one who knew
Italian, and therefore, in spite of the loud
conversation, I was the only one who had
understood what passed between the captain
and the inspector.
**You wished to see the Bosphorus the
first day," I said at length to the Frenchman.
*'Your wish will be granted: we are going
now to the head of the Bosphorus."
*'But why do we not land here?"
'Xolonel, after I have answered you, let
my words remain yours alone." I pointed to
the city, every minute growing lovelier, and
gave him the one horrid word — ''Plague!"
The Frenchman turned pale. ''Not really,
I nodded. "Just so! Only don't let it
worry you in the least. I have lived through
many plagues here ; for it comes yearly, and
its duration depends entirely on the amount
of money needed to be extracted from the
It was natural that the Frenchman should
look at me as if I were losing my mind. It
takes a lifetime to understand many things in
Turkey: it takes generations to understand
the political machinations. The press is not
permitted to publish the news; and by the
time plain facts have passed through the
tenth mouth, they have borrowed such gor-
geous hues of phantasy that it takes a seer to
discover the original grain of truth. The
Oriental — forbidden the truth — finds so-
lace in the magnificence of his inventions.
"What do you mean?" the Frenchman
asked again. For three years he had been
in command of the smallest fortress in the
world, which is on the island of Crete. He
had flown the five flags of the powers over
his tiny fortifications, and thought he knew
Turkey and the Turks — as foreigners do,
who have lived in the Sultan's dominion for
a time. But I was a Turkish subject, and we
had been Turkish subjects ever since there
had been Turks in Europe.
"I mean this," I replied. '* Money is
needed by the officials. The public treasury
is empty. The Sultan hugs his own — as
usual over-filled. He can be made to give
a little, if frightened, and the plague does
frighten him : not the actual disease, but the
quarantining, and the complaints of the
foreign powers. So he will dole out money
to clean the city. A little of this will be spent
on cleaning — the rest will go to the inter-
ested officials. If the Sultan does not give
enough at first, the plague will continue until
he gives the necessary amount. I know a
Greek gentleman into whose pocket a little
of that money will go. He holds quite an
exalted governmental position, but the gov-
ernment has forgotten to pay him for the last
ten or fifteen years."
While we were talking, our boat was steam-
ing on, and the marvellous Bosphorus began
to show us its beauties. Its hills — those never-
to-be-forgotten hills — appeared now green,
now violet, then purple, and again blue. I
have watched them for years, and they are
never alike. They are small or large, straight-
lined or full of curves, according to the light,
and the hour, and the season. And the deep
blue sky hangs low over them, loving them;
and it gives to the waters of the Bosphorus
its own blue tint, and makes of them living
waters, as they hurry on to the Mediterranean.
At the very end of the Bosphorus, where
there were no houses, — nothing but a bar-
ren rock, — the steamer stopped, and its little
boats dumped us on shore. Then it went
away, having escaped the quarantining in
Russia, which would have been its fate had
it touched at an infected port.
We waited here for several hours, all three
classes of passengers mixed indiscriminately
together. The others fumed and fretted, but
I was quite content. In Turkey I forget the
value of time. Every minute of living there
is joy; why hurry it by?
It was late in the afternoon when a small
steamer called for us, and we went down the
Bosphorus. And now, in the waning light,
the river had changed again, and in its new
beauties even the other passengers forgot
hunger, thirst, fatigue, and indignation. As
we drew near Stamboul, Saint Sophia rose
above the other mosques, and against the
dark blue sky seemed to me more gigantic
than when I saw it last. I thought of its mys-
terious, closed door, of which every Greek
child learns in infancy. I had first seen that
door with the believing eyes of childhood,
for which no myth is unreal. Later, I had
seen it with the eyes of the grown-up girl,
whose soul begins to doubt the world, and
whose mind Occidental education renders
sceptical. But think as I might, — even now,
after six years of work in practical America,
— that little door to me, as to all Greeks,
contained the hope of our race. No matter
where we may have been born, nor where our
ancestors may have been born, that closed
little door means everything to all those in
whose veins flows the blood which belongs to
Greece, and which, when the time comes,
must be shed for the freedom of the greater
Greece, still under the yoke of Turkey — for
Macedonia, for Albania, for Thrace, for
Thessaly, for all the Greek islands, and,
above all, for Constantinople.
Here is the myth, which has been repeated
to every Greek child for nearly five hundred
years : That door has not been opened since
the fatal day the Turkish army entered
Constantinople in 1453, when Constantinos
Paleologos, the last Greek Emperor, fell de-
fending his capital.
It was on an Easter Sunday, and the
clergy were officiating in Saint Sophia.
When the cry rang through the church that
Mahomet II had taken the city, the clergy,
grasping the bejewelled Bible, which had
been in Saint Sophia since the Bible was put
together, and the Communion Cup, rushed
into the little side room, and closed the door
behind them. It has never been opened since,
in spite of all the efforts of the Turks ; and we
children of the Greeks are told that, before
the door closed the Bishop of Constantinople
said that he would come out and finish the
Holy Liturgy on the day when a Greek army
should march back into Constantinople
again, and give it to its rightful ruler and its
This is the story of the little closed door.
Told to us in our cradles, we implicitly be-
lieve it for years, — and, who knows, in spite
of the scepticism of the age, perhaps we be-
lieve it until we die. All I know is that I never
look at Saint Sophia without thinking of the
little door and what it stands for, and never
go into the magnificent building without go-
ing to look at it, — just as I always go to see
the Venus of Milo in the Louvre. Deep in
my heart is the belief that to be as beautiful
as she is, and to have lived so many centuries
commanding the admiration of the world,
something immortal from the soul of Prax-
iteles must have passed into the statue. And
because of that thought I cannot help feeling
that the beautiful statue on its pedestal, in
that cold, dark place, must be unhappy and
homesick ; and as soon as I am in Paris I go
and stand by her railing. When we are left
alone, she and I, I speak to her in Greek. I
tell her of all the doings of the Greeks, and
little by little, as if a ray of the Attic sun were
falling on the white marble, the whiteness
softens; it becomes mellower, yellower, and
alive, — as the marble is in Greece, — until
I can see her shiver. The immortal spark in
her is awake. The beauty of the face becomes
human, the lips move, and she speaks. But
what she says is only for her and me — per-
haps it is of the day when the little door in
Saint Sophia will open, and the holy mass
will be finished, and the Greeks, again
leaders of the world, will gather up all our
exiles and bring them back to live under
the sky of Hellas.
I came out of my dreams when we ap-
proached the Galata Bridge landing, and
disembarked, not into a Christian Constanti-
nople, but a Mussulman. Yet I do not hate
the Turks as many Greeks do. On the con-
trary, I love them ; for I know all their good
points and their virtues. Moreover, they
conquered us fairly, because our race had
decayed. It is our task to deserve to rule
again for something besides the memories of
our splendid past.
It was very natural, coming home to Tur-
key. I was born a Turkish subject, and as
such I returned. I found nothing changed.
Everything was as I had left it ; and when I
met my mother, we finished the argument I
had so cavalierly interrupted six years before.
Yet, though nothing else had changed, I
had. I returned to my native land with new
ideas, and a mind full of Occidental ques-
tioning, and I meant to find out things.
Many of my childhood friends had been
Turkish girls : them I now looked upon with
new interest. Before, I had taken them and
their way of living as a matter of course.
Generations of my ancestors had prepared
me for them, and I had lived among them,
looking upon their customs and habits as
quite as natural as my own. But during my
stay in America I heard Turkey spoken of
with hatred and scorn, the Turks reviled as
despicable, their women as miserable crea-
tures, living in practical slavery for the base
desires of men. I had stood bewildered at
this talk. Could it possibly be as the Ameri-
cans said, and I never have known it?
Now, I was to see for myself, and not only
to see but to talk with the women, to ask
them their thoughts about their lives and
When I went away from Turkey I was but
a young girl, an idealist, believing implicitly
in the goodness of the world. I was now six
years older, and I knew the world as a girl
has to learn it who is suddenly thrown on her
own resources in a strange land. Out of that
experience I was going to study the Turkish
women who had been my friends in my girl-
hood. Naturally I was delighted, only a few
days after my arrival, to receive the following
Beloved One, from a far-away country come :
Do you remember your young friends ; or
have hooks and knowledge within them made
your formerly dear heart like a bookcase ? If
you still love us, come to see us.
Two loving hearts, and the little buds that
have sprung from them,
Nassarah and Tsakran, their buds, and
This little letter, with its English words and
Turkish phraseology, set me dreaming of the
many hours they and I had spent happily
together on the shores of the Bosphorus,
before I came to America. And I was filled
with curiosity to see how two girls whom I
had known so intimately could dwell in such
apparent happiness, while sharing the love
of a husband between them. A few days
later a male slave came for me and my trunk,
to pay a visit to the two roses, their buds, and
their gardener, who lived some distance away
in Dolma Baktshfe.
I arrived at their house a h'ttle before lunch
time. A French maid received me and helped
me off with my wraps, and then a slave con-
ducted me to the Turkish bath, that I might
rid myself entirely of the dust and fatigue of
the short journey. After I had been thor-
oughly scrubbed and put into clean clothes,
another slave brought me a cup of black
coffee ; and only after these preliminaries did
my hostesses burst into my room, as if I had
just arrived. It is a blessed custom which
permits guests to be cleaned and refreshed
before meeting their hosts. I had lived so
long in a civilized country that I had for-
gotten how much more civilized, in some
respects, uncivilized Turkey is.
Nassarah and Tsakran, though married
and the mothers of two children each, were
as gay and full of life as when they and I
rolled hoops along the Bosphorus and cast
pebbles into it. They looked like sisters,
and very loving ones. One was clad in a
loose pink silk garment, the other in rich
yellow, and both had their dark hair dressed
with pale pink plumes. They seized me and
nearly carried me into their living-room,
made of glass and called yally kiosky, *' glass
pavilion." There we reclined on low divans
and talked for a few minutes before luncheon
The dining-room was not different from a
European dining-room. I gave a sigh for
the good old times when the Turks used to
sit with their feet curled under them and eat
with the ten forks and spoons that nature
had provided them with, maintaining that
taste is first transmitted through the finger-
tips. However, nothing of the delicious food
itself was European, and I was delighted to
see the courses brought on in brass trays
carried on the heads of the slaves. When the
meal was finished a slave came in carrying
a brass wash-basin. Another followed with a
graceful brass pitcher of water; and still a
third followed with soap, perfumes, and towels
— and we might just as well have eaten with
our fingers after all. When we were again
seated, or rather reclining, in the yally kiosky,
I said : —
^^Now talk to me."
Nassarah took some tobacco with her
slender fingers and rolled a cigarette, which
she passed to the second wife of her husband.
Rolling one for herself, she coaxed the flame
of a match between her palms and lighted
them. Then she turned to me.
**What would you like me to tell you, Al-
lah's beloved?" she asked.
'^Tell me about your marriage and how
you both happened to get the same husband,"
I said impertinently.
At that both began to giggle, and embrace
each other, and make funny faces, like two
'^Tell her, Nassarah," said Tsakran, "tell
Most Turkish women are natural come-
dians, and Nassarah had been a capital one
from her childhood. She looked about her,
taking in her audience, which consisted,
besides Tsakran and myself, of about ten
young slaves, a sort of ladies in attendance.
Then, as if she were a miradju about to tell a
story, she began with their customary words :
*' The beginning of the tale ! Good evening,
most honorable company!''
All giggled delightedly at this.
''When I married Hilmi Pasha I was so
much in love with him I was nearly crazy. I
could not go to sleep, but just lay there while
he slept, and watched him, and — "
''Oh, you must see him," the second wife
burst in. " He is an ideal lover ! Blond, with
blue eyes, and such a lovely mustache; and
tall, with such a beautiful figure!'' And
thereupon she jumped up and began to walk
up and down, to give me an idea of Hilmi
Pasha's lordly gait.
Nassarah grabbed her, however, and
pulled her back to her divan.
"Keep quiet!" she said. "I am telling
Tsakran made a face at her suppression,
and then gave a kiss to the other wife.
**I was telling you," Nassarah went on,
"that I was so much in love I could not sleep.
A year later my girl, my Zelma, was born,
and I was more and more in love with my
At this point she threw herself on her
knees, laid her arms on the floor, bent her
head down on them, and prayed aloud that
Allah might never permit her to live to see
sorrow fall on her master. Tsakran and the
slaves did the same, and for a few minutes
the room was filled with their wailing voices.
But this did not last long, and then, as cheer-
fully as ever, Nassarah Hanoum continued :
"Then my other little girl came, and I
suffered — oh ! how I suffered ! And the
learned doctor was called in, and he said
I should live, but no more children for me.
And I had no boy! No, no boy for my
Hilmi Pasha! Just then Tsakran came to
The mention of the auspicious visit was
too much for the two wives, and again they
fell upon each other's necks, giggling and
'^It was then I thought of a plan, and told
Tsakran of it. I was not going to let Hilmi
Pasha die without a son. Here was Tsak-
ran, young and beautiful, and ready to marry ;
for she knew what a good lord Hilmi is."
Tsakran nodded at me violendy.
**That night, when Hilmi Pasha's most
beautiful head was resting on a most white
pillow, I put my arms around his neck and
told him my plan, and talked and talked, so
that next day it was arranged that Tsakran
was to be made ready to marry my Hilmi."
She made an oratorical pause, and looked
around her. ''Allah rewarded us," she said.
"Two boys have been born, the one within
two years of the other."
At this point in the narrative a slave an-
nounced Hilmi Pasha. The ladies in attend-
ance all rose, bowed, and went out.
I barely remembered Hilmi Pasha, al-
though I had known him before I went away
from Turkey. When he came in, he kissed
his first wife first, then his second, and it
seemed to me that there was a difference in
his manner to the two, the first kiss being
that of a lover, the second that of an older
man to a pet child.
He talked with me concerning affairs in
America. It was just after the assassina-
tion of President McKinley. All the papers
printed in Turkey were only permitted to say
that he had died of indigestion. The news
of the murder of a ruler can never be printed
in Turkey, because it is supposed to put ideas
into the heads of the malcontents. How-
ever, every one in Turkey who counted at
all knew the truth about McKinley and
Hilmi Pasha expressed his astonishment
at the inability of the American govern-
ment to suppress the anarchists. *^ Is n't he
the third one they have killed?'' he asked.
I explained that Lincoln and Garfield were
not killed by anarchists, but Hilmi Pasha
only smiled as much as to say, — in our
slang, — *'What are you giving us?" In
Turkey the truth about public matters is so
often suppressed that he thought I had some
reason for not telling it now.
Since his two wives could hardly follow
a conversation on American politics, Hilmi
Pasha turned to Nassarah and asked her if
she had finished her French novel. From
that the talk drifted to French literature com-
pared to English and American. In the
midst of our conversation a slave brought in
two backgammon boards, handsomely inlaid
with ivory, and placed them on low tables
similarly inlaid. Then we played this game
so universal in Turkey, Hilmi Pasha playing
first with me, then with his first, and then
with his second wife.
The children came in next and were all
kissed by their father, beginning with the
eldest, a beautiful girl with light hair and
dark eyes, named Zelma after the heroine
of a French novel.
I stayed visiting my friends for ten days.
In the morning we would get up and spend
a good part of the forenoon in the Turkish
bath together. After luncheon we would lie
about on couches, reading, and playing cards
and backgammon, or listening to the dra-
matic or spicy tales of the miradjus, the pro-
fessional women story-tellers. Then we would
go for long walks, and sit on the hilltops to
watch the sun set.
One day they proposed that I should ac-
company them on a visit to a friend of theirs
some seven hours distant. I accepted, on
condition that they would travel in the regu-
lar Turkish fashion and not in broughams.
They joyously agreed, and the next morning
two large, springless wagons, covered like
prairie schooners, were waiting at the door.
Their floors were covered with thick mat-
tresses, and wives, slaves, and children all
climbed in, and we were off.
Halfway on our journey we ate luncheon
by a fountain in a little valley finely culti-
vated as a market garden. There were with
us a eunuch and two slaves whose especial
duty it was to sing and play to enliven the
journey. I was dressed in Turkish fashion,
to avoid causing remark from other travellers,
and for comfort.
At the end of our journey we were received
in a large bedroom, where slave women un-
dressed us and took us to the bathing-house
on the shore of the sea. After the bath, we
were put in loose, clean garments lent us by
the mistress of the house. Thus attired, we
next came to the waiting-room, where the
hostess received us. She was middle-aged,
and from her deeply dyed finger-nails I knew
that she was of the old school. She spoke
nothing except Turkish, but that with a vol-
ubiHty to frighten a lawyer. Her waiting-
room was very old-fashioned. A settle ran
around two sides of the room, covered with
hard cushions. There were no chairs. We
all sat in a row, with our feet curled under
us, and drank sherbet. Two copper-colored
slaves came in, very lightly clothed, and
danced a Circassian dance. Then an old
miradju told us a story. The miradjus play
an important part in old-fashioned harem
life. Some of them have great imaginative
power, invent their own stories, and attain
to considerable fame, as a writer does with
us. Others merely repeat what they have
been taught, though they may embellish it
by their personality in reciting, as an actor
embellishes his part.
The story that day was the well-known one
of Derfe Vdr^, a rather Boccaccian tale, that
pointed a strong moral, however. Our prose
troubadour put marvellous facial expression
into her rendering of it, and kept her audi-
ence of some twenty-five women deeply in-
terested. When she finished we all exclaimed,
^'Mashalah ! Mashalah /" in admiration and
applause. When this was over, dinner was
served in the garden, which was surrounded
by a high wall. We sat on the grass, and ate
from low tables.
I learned that night, from Nassarah and
Tsakran, that our hostess was the fourth wife
of a very rich pasha. She was reputed an
extremely clever talker, which counts for a
great deal in Turkey. She could not, how-
ever, get along with the other three wives, —
it may be by reason of her gift, — and there-
fore she lived by herself with her retinue.
She had two grown sons, both in the army,
and was very anxious to make a marriage
between her youngest son and Nassarah's
eldest daughter. This proposed alliance
kept the two families in close friendship,
and although Zelma was still several years
too young to marry, she called our hostess
*^ mother," and treated her with great cere-
We stayed there three days, and I met
several friends of the old Hanoum. Turkish
women do not make our abominable ab-
breviated calls. When they call, they bring
their work and spend the day. They are
clever needle-workers, and some of them
imitate flowers wonderfully in their embroid-
ery. Naturally they were very curious about
America, and I told them much of woman's
position here. In their expressive faces I
read their pity for them, and inwardly I
smiled as I thought of the pity that American
women feel for them.
We made the return trip on a beautiful
moonlight night. When we came to start we
found our wagons festooned with purple and
yellow wistaria. To make the journey pleas-
anter, our hostess and her retinue accom-
panied us halfway, bringing also a wagon
full of Armenian hanendes, men musicians,
to play and sing to us.
Thus in my first harem visit I saw nothing
but pleasant relations existing between the
various women dwelling under the same
roof. It is true that both Nassarah and Tsak-
ran were sweet, commonplace young women
— not very dififerent by nature from many
commonplace American friends I have,
whose lives are spent with dressmakers,
manicures, masseuses, and in various frivo-
lous pursuits. With these two young women
and their friends I had a peaceful and pleas-
ant time. Except for the absence of men I
might almost have been visiting an American
household. What difference existed was to
the advantage of the Turkish girls. They
were entirely natural and spontaneous. They
did not pretend to be anything that they were
not. They were as happy and merry as little
brooks, whose usefulness was limited, but
who at least had no aspirations to pass for
rivers. They were good mothers, and made
one man blissfully happy. They read a lot of
French novels, without pretending that they
did it for the sake of ** culture." They took
everything naturally, and enjoyed it natu-
rally. There was no unwholesome introspec-
tion — that horrible attribute of the average
half-educated European and American wo-
man. They never dreamed of setting the
world aright; and when I talked cant to them
to see how they would take it, they looked
at me in bewilderment, then laughed and
exclaimed : —
*^ Why, little blossom ! Allah meant women
to be beautiful and good; to be true wives,
and real mothers. Is n't that enough for a
I went away from them with the regret with
which one leaves something good and whole-
some, but also I was disappointed. I wanted
to see something new and different; I wanted
to discuss and vivisect — and Nassarah and
Tsakran were too healthy and happy for
that. My next visit, however, was of quite
another character. In it I went beneath the
surface as far as I could wish.
It had been hot all day long, oppressively
so; and even now that it was dark, the heat
had not relented. Pera, that city of curious
noises, was sending up to me the echoing
shouts of its venders. In Constantinople the
small merchants carry their wares on their
backs, and advertise their quality by power
of lung. To the conglomeration of advertis-
ing tunes was added the shrill monotonous
barking of the world-famed dogs, who bark,
apparently, with the simple desire of adding
to the noises of the hot city; for they bark
even when eating.
The mixture of sounds about me was
rapidly depressing me, when a servant came
into my room, stumbled over a chair, in the
semi-obscurity, and handed me a note.
^'A slave, mademoiselle, brought it, and
is waiting for an answer."
A slave ! The word was poetry. It opened
a vista of large, bare Turkish rooms, of low,
linen-covered divans, of filmy clothes, bare
feet, absolute inaction, cooling sherbets —
and of quiet. I opened the note and, with the
help of a candle, read : —
Little Cherry Blossom: —
The wind brings me joyous news of your
sweet presence in our miserable city. No won-
der the sky is bluer and the scent of the flowers
sweeter. Will you not, Allah^s beloved, glad-
den a human heart by your luminous presence?
Come to me ! Hasten to my bosom, so that I
may tell you how happy I shall be to see you
again. I live now at Chartal. Tell me the
train which will be honored by you, and slaves
will meet you.
'^Well," I muttered to myself, ^^I am glad
she does not attribute this intense heat to my
luminous presence.'' And to her flowery note
I scribbled an answer in pencil, on the back
of my card, telling her that I would come to
her on the next afternoon boat.
And it was at the quaint landing of Asiatic
Chartal that a spacious ox-wagon met me;
and, contrary to all Ottoman etiquette, it was
my hostess herself who was there to receive
me, — Mihirmah, in a loose, pale-blue silk
garment, looking as cool as the European
women looked hot and uncomfortable in their
"Dear little thunder-storm, do forgive me
for coming myself," she begged, while we
were embracing. "I had to come. But you
shall be left alone to rest as soon as we reach
The word "thunder-storm" made me
laugh. "Mihirmah, dear, I haven't heard
that name applied to me for years. Horrible
as it sounds, and great a reflection as it is on
my temper, yet it does me good to hear it."
" Why ! Do you mean to say that you don't
get angry any more when poor Turkish chil-
dren wish to oppose you?"
"You forget that I don't live among Turk-
ish people any more/'
"Well, you are among them now, praise
be to Allah!"
With that we stepped into the ox- wagon.
There we reclined on the soft mattresses,
while the dark silk curtains with their gold
tassels flapped in and out, a kind of Eastern
electric fan — primitive, but very attractive.
After a drive of a mile and a half through
streets as yet unspoiled by Europeans, we
came to Mihirmah's dwelling. It was a ram-
bling old structure, half stucco and half wood,
and, like most Turkish houses, surrounded
by an immense old-fashioned garden, in-
closed by a tall wall. The house was almost
overhanging the sea of the Propontis, and not
far from the house were tents, where one
could camp out at a moment's notice.
All the slaves were in the hall, as we en-
tered, and threw rose-blossoms over us. My
hostess turned to a pretty young slave of
about fifteen, and said : —
"Guselli [beauty] here is your mistress.
You are to love her as you love your own
face, and to take care of her as if she were
your own eyes."
With this she kissed me and went away.
All the slaves followed her, bowing to the
floor, and kissing their fingers to tell me that
I was welcome. Guselli and I were left alone
to bathe and to rest.
When I opened my eyes a few hours later,
I was covered with flowers, and my hostess
was leaning over me, coaxing me to awake.
'^You lazy little thunder-storm, I have
been sitting here waiting to welcome you
formally to my home, and you have allowed
your spirit to wander thousands of miles
from here. Get up, and let us go to the gar-
den, where dinner has been waiting for us
ever so long."
As I played with the flowers I also ex-
amined my hostess, clad in a yellow silk
entere, her throat bare, and her head adorned
with amber beads.
"My dear," I exclaimed, ''do you know
that you have more than fulfilled your pro-
mise? You are stunning."
''I know it," she said simply. She lifted
me to my feet. ''But now we must run!"
And run we did, down to a part of the
garden overhanging the sea. There our din-
ner was served, beneath the light of Chinese
lanterns, while the soothing waves of the
Propontis rhythmically lapped the foot of
our garden wall.
So far I knew absolutely nothing of Mihir-
mah's grown-up life. I had seen nothing of
her for ten years. We had been friends in
childhood, and even after she had gone from
Constantinople to Broussa to live, we had
written to each other for several years. That
night, when we were comfortably settled in
her room, I asked her : —
"Mihirmah, tell me all about yourself —
and how did you find out that I was here?"
"Djimlah told me, and that you were
going to stay some time with her. And I
thought if you could do that, you might also
be able to come here to me, little white lamb.
And you do love me as much as ever, do you
I reassured her. She embraced me several
times, and gave me assurance of her own
undying affection; then asked: *^Now tell
me how the world has treated you?"
''Treated me!" I repeated, knowing that
in Oriental eyes matrimony was the only
treatment worth recording. ''It hasn't
treated me at all. I am earning my living."
"My! But it must be funny!" Mihirmah
"It is, when you view it from a palace,
with hordes of slaves to wait on you, and
fairylike garments to adorn you ; but it is not
funny when you walk side by side with stern
reality. But now for yourself. Out with it!
Are you married?"
Mihirmah's merry face clouded. She was
no longer the gay and reckless girl of a mo-
"Yes, little heart, I am,'' she said.
I knew from her tone that there was sorrow
in connection with it. *^No children?" I
asked. ''No boys?"
*'0h, yes, one boy, one girl. You will see
them to-morrow — perfect beauties ! " And
in her maternal pride her face was happy
She did not volunteer more, and there
was no use my trying to get the story bit by
bit. I knew Turkish women too well. When
the time should come to tell me, there would
be no necessity for questions. It would be
told simply and frankly, as only Turkish
women can talk.
Two nights later I heard it. All day long
Mihirmah was restless. Upon her babies and
upon me she lavished an immense amount of
caresses. She proposed various excursions;
yet no sooner did we decide upon one than
the plan was given up and another con-
sidered. The whole household was affected
by her mood. There was no singing among
the slaves, no chattering, no laughter. Even
the children sat upon the rug at their mother's
feet and played quietly. The boy, a dear little
fellow, would get up often, throw his arms
around his mother, and lisp: ^'Mudder, Ali
Bey, the little, loves his mudder — loves
her ever so big." Mihirmah would take the
child in her arms, kiss him wildly ; then hold
him away from her, looking into his eyes,
and sigh deeply as she put him back on the
At night, as we sat together by the latticed
windows and inhaled the sea air mingled
with the perfume of flowers, Mihirmah
said : —
''Little thunder-storm, when do you think
we earn the right to live?"
"I don't know. I never thought about it.
When do you think we do?"
''When we conceive a great thought, form
a great wish, and perform a good act. I have
had the first two, but I never had the last —
though Allah gave me the chance once."
Under her breath she added: ''Will he ever
give me the chance again?''
She was silent for several minutes after
this. I waited for her to speak.
*'Do you remember Ali Machmet Bey?'^
she asked me presently.
*' Indeed I do. Don't you know how you
and I used to trot after him and call him our
prophet and our patissah .^"
''You cared for him, did you not, little
mountain-spring? But you left Turkey and
forgot him. I left Constantinople, too, but
never, never forgot him. How could I? He
was the best and most generous boy of all
"Yes," I assented, "and warm-hearted and
strong-headed, quick to take offense, and
quick to forgive and apologize."
As I spoke a scene of my childhood came
back to me. It was in a high marble hall,
with a cistern at one side. Ali Machmet
came to the chain of the bucket and held it.
I came afterward and insisted that I must
draw water first. We fought, and Ali Mach-
met struck me on the head with the chain.
No sooner, however, had the chain landed on
my stubborn head than he came to me, took
from his pockets all he had, — a penknife, a
wooden soldier, and five piastres, — and even
now I can hear the litde boy say: "Take
any of these, only say that you forgive me."
I, the greedy litde girl, said : *'I want all of
them if I am to forgive you.''
"Take them!" he answered. "Only let
me sleep one more night with my soldier, —
I will explain to him why he must go, —
won't you, thunder-storm ? " I gave him back
the soldier and the knife, and told him he
might draw the water first from the cistern;
for his wistful tone when he spoke of his sol-
dier melted my heart; but the five piastres
became common property, and we feasted on
them that afternoon.
As I was lost in my reminiscences, Mihir-
mah put her hand on mine. What are you
thinking about, dear one?"
"About Ali Machmet," I answered.
''It is about him I am going to tell you.
His image never left my heart, and when his
mother chose me to be his wife I went to him
as happy as one is in dreamland. My little
boy was born in less than a year, and my
little daughter a year later. She was only a
few months old when I heard my mother-in-
law — she is dead now, and may Allah for-
give her ! — tell to another woman how she
made our match. She did not know that I
was listening, and I listened because I ex-
pected her to say that my lord had loved me
from childhood. Instead she said that he had
not wished to marry and had repeatedly
refused, and that only when she had begged
on her knees that she should be permitted to
hold his baby before she died, had he given
in — he was her only child, you know. When
I was proposed to him, he had answered:
* Oh, she will do as well as any other.'
"After I heard these words I ran into the
garden. I shrieked, I tore my hair. I became
ill, and begged Allah to take me to him ; but
he meant that I should live. When I became
well again, I could not look at Ali Machmet,
— I could not bear to hear him speak, —
so I left him and came here to my grand-
parents, with my babies and a few of my
slaves. I told my grandmother that I had left
my husband for the present. He came to see
me, but I refused to see him. Then his
mother was taken ill and died, but this did
not bring about any change between us. Ali
Machmet saw my grandmother and arranged
things with her very liberally indeed; not
once did he complain.
^'You see, little blossom, he did not care
for me. He came constantly to see the chil-
dren; for he loved them dearly. My heart
was full of madness, and I even hated my
children because he loved them. Sometimes
I used to think that I should like to kill them
and throw their corpses at him and say:
' You took me so that I might give children to
your mother. There are the children ! I took
their breath away because it was mine.' I
came very near doing it, too, for I know now
that I had a kind of madness.
''Then a desire to make him jealous, to
torture him in some way, came upon me; and
without any more thought I made one of my
faithful slaves write him an anonymous letter
telling him that I had a lover. But I ought to
have known better; for Ali Machmet is not
the kind of man to believe anonymous letters.
''Finally, in despair, I wrote a love-letter,
such a one as I could write only to Ali Mach-
met himself, with a foreign name on top,
signed it with my name, and sent it to my
husband. In two days he was here with the
letter. I was in my room with the children.
He did not have them taken out. He came
and sat near me, took the little girl in his lap,
and put the boy in mine. Then he took from
his portfolio the letter, gave it to me, and
waited. I read the letter, and did not say any-
thing. He asked me quietly if I had written it.
"I nodded my head.
^''To whom did you write it?' he asked.
'^'To you, since you have it/ I said."
Mihirmah's eyes filled with tears, and a sob
came to her throat.
''Dear little mountain-spring, I told him
just the truth and nothing else; but his eyes
were full of anger, and I knew he could kill
me if he did not master himself.
'''Mihirmah,' he said, 'I want you to tell
me where I can find this man.'
''How could I tell him, since there was no
such man? I had only wanted to make him
jealous and bring him to me. I told him that
there was no such man.
"He took my hands and put the one on the
head of my boy and the other on that of my
girl. 'For their sake!' he said.
"The old jealousy of mine came back to
me fiercer than ever. I jumped up, and in
doing so threw the boy to the floor, and he
began to cry. Ali Machmet picked up the
child and soothed it for a while. Then he put
him down and came over to me.
*'*Mihirmah/ he said very quietly, 'if you
don't want to live with me you need not, but
you must not be a wicked woman. I am go-
ing away now. In a week you must write me
this man's name.' How could I? There was
no such name."
''But, my beautiful Mihirmah," I ex-
claimed, "why didn't you write him the
"Yes," she said quietly, "it was the one
chance Allah gave me to perform a great,
good act and earn the right to live ; but I did
not; and in ten days I was a divorced woman.
He cast me off as he would a garment that
had served its purpose. I had given him a
boy, and I was good for nothing more. This
thought tortured my heart enough to kill it
and turn it to ashes; but my humiliation, and
this new proof that he did not care for me,
did not cure me of loving him."
Mihirmah took my hands and almost
crushed them between hers. ' ' Little blossom,
I love him now more than I ever did before,
and there are days, like to-day, when every
bit of life in me cries out for him. I shall go
mad for love of a man who puts me out of his
life as easily as one brushes away a speck of
dust. But he has been generous in all of his
settlements. He even left me my children, on
the condition that I was to remain a good
woman, and that he should take the little girl
away when I was unworthy of her.
''Two days after he divorced me he took
the eunuchs away. You understand, blos-
som, what that means? I was no longer a
wife — no one cared for me any more. I
could take my choice, and be good or bad. I
fought myself for months after this to keep
my hands from doing violence to my body.
Then the old people were taken ill, first the
one and then the other, and both died. Car-
ing for them occupied my mind for a year."
"Is Ali Machmet married again?" I
''Oh, no, dear one! He does not care for
women. His heart is in the army. He has
only one wish, and that is to get the ear of the
Sultan and tell him all that our army needs
to be powerful again. For years now he has
been waiting and hoping; but his superiors
are men of the old regime, they do not be-
lieve in new guns and new methods. They
prevent him every time from having an inter-
view with our Calif."
**How long is it since he divorced you?" I
"Two long years, dear one, and I have
never seen him since. He sends for the chil-
dren once a week, and keeps them a day and
a night with him. That is why you did not
see them the first night you came. They were
with him. When they come back they talk
incessantly of him to me, and though every
word they say is a new burn to the old wound,
I make them say it over and over again, to be
tortured the more."
Mihirmah put her head in my lap and
cried for hours. It was almost daybreak be-
fore I managed to soothe her and put her to
sleep. The next morning she was ill and had
to stay in bed, but the morning following she
was herself again, and begged me to forgive
her for letting her sorrow interfere with my
I don't know when I have ever met with
more real unhappiness than hers. It was not
so much the open outburst as the following
days of suppressed suffering that impressed
me. I began to wonder if I could not possibly
help her — to wonder what the result would
be if I went to Stamboul to Ali Machmet's
house and told him every word his wife had
told me. One minute I thought it a very
simple and perfect plan; the next I was not
Thus several days passed, when sud-
denly little Ali fell ill.
I went to his room to see him. He had
quite a high temperature. '*Do you think it
can be the measles?'' I asked his mother.
She was kneeling beside the child's couch,
her cool cheek resting against his hot one.
" No, the little villain has been eating green
fruit, he tells me."
I was dejected at the answer. A plan had
come to me which the measles would help.
Yet I would not give up so easily. I seized
Mihirmah's hand and dragged her away
from the bed.
**Come with me," I said breathlessly. In
the next room I faced her. *' Mihirmah, little
Ali may be dangerously ill. Send for your
husband. Telegraph him, and he will be here
to-day or to-morrow."
*'But, my lovely jasmine," Mihirmah pro-
tested, rather bewildered, ''little Ali is not
ill enough to send for his father. He will be
all right in a day or two. It is his little stom-
ach, that's all."
''But, my darling Mihirmah," I cried,
more excited, "don't you see that it does not
matter how sick the child really is."
She shook her head. "I have shammed to
my husband once, and I am a divorced wo-
man. I will not sham again."
"Mihirmah, has little Ali ever been sick
before?'' I asked.
"No, he never has. He is his father in
looks and in health."
"Well, then, don't you see that Allah is
giving you another chance? Send for Ali
Machmet; if nothing comes of it you will at
least have seen him."
There we stood : I, the Greek, with the in-
stinct of the merchant, wishing to manufac-
ture an opportunity; she, the Oriental fatalist,
willing to suffer the will of Allah, but not to
avail herself of conditions that needed manip-
ulating. But I had made up my mind that
on this day the Greek should win — and I
It took time, however, and the telegram
was sent so late that there was not time for
Ali Machmet to come that day. Mihirmah,
when the telegram was sent, retired to her
room and prayed for hours to Allah. I sat by
the child. I, too, was praying to my God;
but I rather think that our prayers were as
different as the languages they were ad-
dressed in; for I was praying that little Ali
might at least have the measles.
That night Mihirmah slept little. Like a
white spirit she roamed all over the house,
and about the garden.
The morning came, a very lovely one,
unruffled by the storm that was going on in
our hearts. I don't know how far Mihirmah's
prayers had travelled toward Allah, but mine,
thanks to the proverb, ^^Aide-toi et Dieu
faidera,^^ were being answered; for I had
seen personally to little Ali's stomach, and.
my simple measures were acting efficaciously.
The first afternoon train brought Ali
Machmet. By that time I had succeeded in
convincing Mihirmah that the boy really
had all the symptoms of measles. I had be-
come desperate; for she had told me that as
soon as her husband arrived she would throw
herself at his feet and confess her ruse to him.
As soon as I saw Ali Machmet coming on
horseback, I rushed to the child and took off
him the ten or twelve coverlets which I had
on him, to accentuate his fever. Then, al-
most by force, I dragged the mother to the
bedside, there to await the coming of her
husband ; and I myself, too excited to do any-
thing but stand about in the garden and tear
my handkerchief to pieces, waited the result
of the meeting.
Ali Machmet had brought a doctor with
him, who stayed with the child some time.
Then the doctor went away, and Ali Mach-
met and Mihirmah were alone by the child's
bed. When a slave came and told me that
the master had retired to the pavilion we had
prepared for him in the garden, I went into
the sick-room. Mihirmah, white as a sheet,
sat staring at the sleeping child.
"What did the doctor say?" I asked.
Mihirmah looked at me as if she did not
know who I was, at first; then she answered
that the doctor had said the child did not
have the measles, although the vomiting was
a bad sign.
I chuckled inwardly, knowing that were
I to tell Mihirmah what had caused the
vomiting there would be trouble for the
''What did Ali Machmet say to you?" I
Mihirmah broke down completely at my
words. It was like a fierce rain on a hot sum-
mer's day. She cried in torrents, and that
was all I was destined to know, for the door
opened and Ali Machmet came in. She did
not see him, but I did, and rearranged my
batteries a little, but not too much, for I was
as afraid as ever of Mihirmah's tongue.
He came near, and put his hand on her
head. She was startled and turned her tear-
stained face toward him. There are tears and
tears — ugly tears and pretty tears, tears that
annoy and those that attract; it all depends
on the attitude of the onlooker. I suppose
Mihirmah's tears were very pretty to her
former husband, for he was very gentle and
kind to her.
"And now, Mihirmah, you had better go
to your room and rest a little," he said to her,
after he had soothed her.
She obeyed him instantly, and I was left
alone with him. I knew he was very far from
guessing who I was. In a voice as much like
a child's as I could make it, I said: —
"Take them, only let me sleep one more
night with my soldier, — I will explain to
him why he must go, — won't you, thunder-
Then I laughed and gave him my hand,
and it did me good to see how glad he was to
see me. We chatted for a half-hour or so, and
then the slave came to say that dinner was
" Of course you will eat with us, Ali Mach-
met?" I said. I saw protest written all over
him. "If you do not, you are very cruel, be-
cause it is my only chance to see you."
When I had him caught, I hurried to
"Mihirmah, my dear one, there are two
roads to men's hearts, according to an old
foolish Greek proverb; through their stom-
achs, with good food, and through their eyes,
with good looks. You are, and you must
I found I did not have to urge her to this,
and it was a terribly attractive Mihirmah,
with her pale face and tremulous lips, who
came into the dining-room. Our meal was a
happy one. I was happy because I felt that
things were going well. I knew that Mihir-
mah must be happy, in a bitter and sweet
way, in her husband's presence; and who can
tell, but that he was happy, too ? — at any
rate, he did not look as if he disliked it.
We finished eating the twenty-odd dishes
that were served us, and had come to the fruit,
which is the best part of a Turkish meal,
as the serving force retires and the conversa-
tion takes a more intimate tone and lingers on
sometimes for an hour. All was going well
when my bad angel whispered to me to ask
Ali Machmet about his work and the army.
"The little fellow will never know what his
illness has cost his father/' he said in a sad
voice. ^^For years now I have been trying to
reach our Calif, but forces stronger than my
own always kept me out of his sight. To-day,
at last, I was going to have my interview. The
palace-physician had consented to smuggle
me in to him, and all the chances were favor-
able. Now the opportunity is lost, and I may
never have another."
There was a noise of broken dishes, of a
chair overturning, and Mihirmah was at the
feet of her husband. I felt that all my schem-
ing had been in vain.
"My lord, master of my life and my
death," Mihirmah was waihng, "/ have ru-
ined your chance. I brought you here when
perhaps I ought to have waited."
I jumped to my feet, and ran to her.
"Listen, Mihirmah! Let me take Ali Mach-
met to the pavilion and have a talk with him.
I promise I will tell him everything."
"No, little thunder-storm," she said, "you
go to the garden. I must speak — I must
Ali Machmet had risen and was trying to
Hft his wife from her kneeh'ng position. He
looked, bewildered, from one to the other
I tried to speak to him; but Mihirmah
first implored, then commanded me to go to
the garden and leave her alone with him. I
went, but not to the garden. I sat at the head
of the stairs, to keep the slaves away if they
should appear, and to be at hand if Mihirmah
should need me.
Opposite the stairs was a long window,
and through the upper part of it, which was
not latticed, I could see the sky. My tongue
mechanically was praying : '^ Oh ! Allah, help
her!" I repeated it over and over. A shoot-
ing star fell, and my prayer caught it. My
superstitious soul leaped. *^My prayer
caught the shooting star," I found myself
saying, and then I kept on praying.
It seemed years that I sat on those stairs —
till I could not stand it any longer. Making
the sign of the cross three times over my
heart, I crept toward the fatal room. I
opened the door ever so little and peeped in ;
then quietly I drew back and went out into
** Remember, lady," I apostrophized my-
self, while I tried hard to keep the dry sobs
from my throat, '^you have done a great act,
and according to Mihirmah you have earned
the right to live."
Then I looked up at the friendly sky and
laughed, while tears at last came streaming
down; for what I had seen in the closed room
was what, according to the Orientals, causes
Allah to smile, and the flowers to grow more
beautiful, and the birds to sing their sweetest
song: for in the closed room above, Mihir-
mah's head was nestling on her husband's
heart, and Ali Machmet's face was radiant
as that of a lover.
DJIMLAH, THE THINKER, SELIM
PASHA'S FOURTH WIFE
I LOOKED forward to my third visit with
even greater anticipation than to the other
two : and, indeed, it promised to be all a stu-
dent of Turkish customs could ask for. The
friend I was to visit was a girl I had known
better than any other Osmanli girl. I was to
find her the mother of three children, and
the fourth wife of one of the most powerful
pashas in the Sultan's entourage, — a man
much older than herself, to whom her family
had given her in marriage without a by-
your-Ieave. I was tremendously interested
to see how she had accepted the situation.
Djimlah, moreover, had a vigorous and
original mind, which had attracted me in our
youth — although as she grew up and began
to think of love, her thoughts were frightful.
Once she said to me : ' ' Love has nothing to do
with one's thoughts or one's aspirations. It is
merely a manifestation of the senses. The
intensity of one's love depends on one's
physical condition. When a man loves a
woman he does not care whether she is good
or bad, whether she will be a friend and com-
panion to him or not. He simply wants that
woman, and will do all he can to get her. As
for the woman, she obeys her instincts as
blindly as an animal.'*
''How about her soul?" I asked.
She laughed scornfully. ''You little petal
of a flower, woman has no soul."
"Yes, that is what you Turks say," I
cried. "But we do not believe in that doc-
trine. Woman has a soul."
"No, she hasn't," Djimlah contradicted;
"she is all emotions and senses."
If an ugly girl had spoken as Djimlah
spoke, it would have been very repulsive;
but the radiant loveliness of the girl could not
fail to modify the impression made by her
words. While speaking, she would clasp her
hands above her head, the sleeves falling
away from her white arms; she would half
close her eyes, in a way that made the light
shining through them softer; and her lips
forming her words were fresh and crimson,
like a rose with the dew on it. The Greek in
me, looking at her, forgave her words — one
of the judges who liberated the accused
Phryne, because she was so beautiful, may
have been an ancestor of mine. And she
prefaced all her blighting remarks with such
endearments as *' little crest of the wave,"
*' little mountain brook," or ''flower of the
almond tree." It was as if I were being taken
to a slaughter-house through a rose-con-
Foreigners she hated intensely, and to be
the wife of a foreigner was to her the most
miserable existence imaginable.
One day, when she was telling me that
''love was a necessity of the body, like food
and air, and that when the senses awoke
and asked their due, they ought to get it,"
I asked : —
''Djimlah, since love is nothing but the
rightful demand of sense, and since you be-
lieve in its gratification, while at the same
time you hate foreigners so tremendously,
what should you do if you fell in love with a
'' Oh ! I should let him love me for a while,
and then have him killed."
She said this without the slightest tremor
in her voice, without the faintest added pink
mounting her cheeks. What a sinner she
would have made, had she been a European
woman ! How many souls of men she would
have sent to eternal damnation with a slight
shrug of her superb shoulders!
When she had written to me in her fault-
less French, asking me to visit her, I was both
pleased and surprised; for I knew her hus-
band's household to be one of the very ortho-
dox, into which foreigners were almost never
allowed to penetrate. During my girlhood,
although I had been in many haremliks, I
had never happened to be in one where more
than one wife was living, and they had all
been somewhat Europeanized. Selim Pasha's
was the first old-fashioned harem which was
opening its doors to me.
It was Djimlah herself who called for me
in her brougham. A tall, powerful eunuch
opened the door of her carriage, and when
I was in it, jumped up to his seat beside the
coachman, and we were off. Inside was
Djimlah, with two slaves. When she took
me in her arms and kissed me, I was envel-
oped in an atmosphere of subtle perfume and
rich luxury. I thought how a French writer
would have loved to describe her. Her im-
maculate yashmak, transparently gauzy,
let me see her beauty, resplendent, yet some-
how softer than I remembered it. She had
always been of the tall, self-reliant type : now
she looked still more sure of herself, invested
as she was with the name of a powerful pasha.
In our girlhood we had been on the same
social footing; but with the turning of the
wheel of fortune I had gone under and had
become a breadwinner — she had been car-
ried up to the top. The present meeting was
the first for six years.
It is difficult to talk in a carriage anywhere,
but in Constantinople it is impossible. Roll-
ing over the miserable pavement makes a
noise worthy of the dogs. Djimlah and I,
after our first embrace, lay back against the
cushions and closed our eyes, she holding
my hand in hers. Once, when the carriage
stopped for a minute, she opened her eyes
and looking long and earnestly at me, said,
with delightful Oriental frankness : —
" You have changed, little flower. America
has robbed you of your youth. I must keep
you here and help you to get it back."
When we arrived at her palace, she took
me directly to my room, where a pretty slave
was waiting for me.
*^This is your room," she said, and, point-
ing to the slave, "she is yours also." She
opened a large cupboard whose shelves were
filled with clothes: ''And here is all you will
need while you stay with us." To the slave
she added : —
'* Kondje, this is your mistress. If she does
not look any better when she leaves than she
does now, let me never see your face again.
If she improves, you can ask me anything
you like." Drawing the slave to her and
petting her, she went on, pointing to me as
if I were an inanimate object: ''Kondje,
she used to be very pretty — look at her
now ! Could you believe that she is younger
The slave shook her head, and looked me
up and down compassionately.
I burst out laughing. "Really, Djimlah,
you must learn to spare my feelings I have
just come from America, where we don't tell
the truth like that."
"Nasty country, anyhow!" she observed.
The slave came to me and threw her arms
around me. "Young Hanoum, is it a dis-
appointment in love?" she asked sympa-
"Nonsense!" Djimlah interjected, ''Fool-
ishness! that's the reason. Instead of let-
ting a good strong man take care of her,
she is doing it for herself — disgracing Allah
and his sons. Now good-by, and rest all you
Kondje took her task to heart. She bathed
and massaged me, as if I were to be made
over. Then she brought out several garments,
and after discarding them all as not befitting
my beauty, — or to be more accurate, my
lack of it, — she at last satisfied herself from
a fresh armful from the closet.
After I had rested, I went down to the
garden, where Djimlah presented me to the
other three wives of Selim Pasha, their
ladies-in-waiting, and a few guests. We were
twenty-seven in all, and we reclined under a
canopy of flowers, and waited for the coming
sunset. A high wall hid us from the outside
world, and a pergola, covered with pink and
purple wistaria, protected us from any mas-
culine eyes which might chance to look over
from the side of the palace reserved for men.
I took my seat by Djimlah, on a lot of cush-
Presently one of the women reached up a
bare arm, plucked a bunch of wistaria, and
threw it at another woman. Simultaneously
several bare arms went up, and pink and
purple wistaria went flying right and left, so
that in a few minutes the ground and the
Turkish rugs on which we were reclining
were covered with flowers.
^* Give us some music, beautiful ones," said
the first wife, who was the head of the house-
hold, and who was addressed as Validd
Some of the young slaves picked up their
zithers, and the music of the East charmed
our ears for a few minutes.
''See now, see how fast he is travelling!"
exclaimed Djimlah, pointing to the sun.
"He is getting impatient to reach his home
and throw his arms around his women-folk
and rest from the day's labor."
She turned to me. **Do you remember,
little bride of the river, how you and I used
to run to catch the sun when we were small ?
And do you remember how once we were so
engrossed with him that we fell into the
Propontis ? "
"Yes, I do remember," I answered; *'how
very happy we were then, Djimlah!"
"Why 'then'?" inquired the young wo-
man. " Are we not happy now ? Are you not,
Allah's little ray?"
"Are you?" I questioned.
"Of course I am," the young wife an-
swered, clasping her youngest child to her
bosom. "I am even more happy now with
my babies and my lord." Then she added,
as if the thought had just come to her, "You
have not taken a master to your heart, dear
one — why ? You remember how we used to
plan about our husbands, and you always
said you would marry a prince ever so great
and powerful. I have my husband; where
is yours, little blossom?"
*'I have searched all Europe," I replied,
'* and in despair I have crossed the ocean and
gone to America. He is quite elusive; he
evades me everywhere."
"Does it make you sad, Allah's little
cloud?" said the Valide Hanoum, leaning
over and running her fingers over my hair.
"Look! look at him now!" cried another,
pointing to the sun. "He is kissing the hills
good-by. Look, how he makes them blush;
how pink they grow in their love for him!
In their joy now they will sing in colors."
"Mashallah! mashallah!" exclaimed sev-
eral women, kissing their fingers to the de-
parting sun. From outside the walls a shep-
herd was singing the sunset song as he walked
behind his sheep. The slaves, this time of
their own accord, were softly singing,
" Happy, happy we, dwellers of this beautiful
These women were all intoxicated with the
beauty of nature before them. Nowhere
have I seen such pure enjoyment of life.
Nothing was bothering them. They had no
other career except that of being beautiful
The color of the sky was spreading, taking
in the Byzantine wall, the Golden Horn, and
the slender minarets silhouetted from afar;
and the East little by little crept again into
my blood, and I let myself go and be happy in
After sunset the Valide Hanoum gave the
signal of departure, and at once wives, chil-
dren, guests, and slaves rose to their feet.
Two eunuchs carried the rugs and pillows,
while the others carried the young children.
There were eight of these black cerberi —
two for each wife. As we descended from the
hill the dwelling presented itself in full view.
It was a huge, ugly wooden structure of
ninety rooms, looking more like a factory
than a rich residence. Of the ninety rooms
only twenty were given over to the master
and his retinue; the rest belonged to the
The Validd Hanoum, in her position as
first wife, occupied the first floor, and had
more rooms assigned to her than any other
wife. Djimlah, my friend, as fourth wife,
was destined to see the world from the top
of the house; and she had only fourteen
rooms for herself. There was but one bath-
house, and that belonged to the Valide
Hanoum; but all the ladies took their hour-
long ablutions there. On each floor there
was a connecting passage to the other side of
the house, through which the master could
visit each wife without being seen by the
As I said before, this household was a very
strict one, and the women of the house obeyed
all the laws of their creed, and followed the
prescribed customs rigorously. Their nails
were profusely dyed, and their indoor robes
were one-piece garments of very costly ma-
terials. Their hair was done up in braids,
while gauzy pieces of silk, cut bias, were ar-
ranged round their heads. Saluting with
the graceful temena — touching the floor, the
knees, the heart, the lips, and the forehead —
was customary, on every occasion; and strict
attention was given to precedence.
The Valide Hanoum sat at the head of the
table, the second wife sitting at the foot.
The third wife sat at the right of the first, and
the fourth at the right of the second. On
no occasion were these places changed. The
first wife was served first, and it was she who
gave the signal for conversation. Also per-
mission for inviting guests or going out to
pay visits was granted or refused by the
As far as I could judge, there was no jeal-
ousy between the wives. The others looked
upon the Valide as a mother, though she was
little older than the second and third wife.
I was given to understand that the harmony
of the household depended absolutely on the
character of the first wife. As the household
was very Oriental, the only chairs to be seen
were in the dining-room. There were several
reception rooms, one of which was supposed
to be furnished in European fashion. It was
as European as the Oriental rooms in Amer-
ica are Oriental.
In the sixty-five rooms assigned to women
there was not a room that could be called a
bedroom, that is, that had the appearance of
being given over to that use. Instead, there
were many rooms bare of furniture except
for rugs and pillows and one or two low
tables inlaid with mother-of-pearl. These
rooms had beautiful damask hangings at the
windows, and a low platform with two steps
leading up to it, on one side of the room. On
this platform was a silken rug, and baskets
or vases of flowers. Had one had the curios-
ity to open the large cupboards in these
rooms, one would have found all the bed-
clothes neatly folded away. The Turks never
use hard mattresses, like ours, but several
well-kept soft ones, made of cotton. From
the closets the bedclothes were taken at night
and arranged on the low platforms. This
mode of living, I suppose, is a remnant of
their former nomadic habits.
On the first night of my arrival, while I
was lying on my platform, thinking over my
day's experience, the door of my room opened
softly to let Djimlah pass. I was certain that
while she sat in my room a eunuch was
crouching at my door. She was ready for the
night — her hair done up in that queer Orien-
tal fashion becoming only to Eastern women.
It was divided in two and parted in the mid-
dle; each division again subdivided in two,
and each braided loosely. Then the ends of
the two front braids were tied up by a wide,
soft piece of silk, which hung loose in the
back and formed a kind of background for
the face. Djimlah's headdress was of pale
blue, which brought out the color of her deep
blue eyes. As she sat at the foot of my plat-
form a lovely perfume of roses emanated
"Sun-ray," I said to her, *'your approach
**Yes, blossom of the almond tree," was
her reply. "I have had my rose-bath. You
shall have yours presently. But before
Kondje comes, let us make use of the flying
time — not so?" Djimlah always spoke
Turkish, to the consternation of my poor
ears, which had been out of training for
years. Though she spoke French and Eng-
lish perfectly, she seldom made use of them.
She abhorred anything foreign to Mahome-
tanism, her strong affection for me being her
"Little river," she said bluntly, as is the
Turkish custom, *^I hate to think of you liv-
ing away in that half-civilized country of
America. You really must stay here and be
"Do you think, Djimlah, my dear," I
asked, matching her own frankness, "that I
should be happy with a quarter of a hus-
She laughed till the tears came to her eyes.
'*I have just been paying a visit to Nas-
sarah and Tsakran," I went on; ''but Tsak-
ran is a little kitten, and I don't think it mat-
ters to her whether she is the first or second
wife; and Nassarah, for the sake of the boys,
does not mind sharing her husband."
''There is where you make a mistake, my
little one," Djimlah said. "You never share
your husband. What a man gives to one
woman he never gives to another. What he is
to his first wife he never is to his second or
third. It always amuses me how slow you
European women are to understand men.
You put up with the greatest outrages in
order to remain the only wives. A man is not
like a woman, who is essentially a mother.
A man by nature is polygamous. His nature
must expand : sometimes it is more than one
woman that he must love; sometimes he gives
himself over to state matters; sometimes it is
a career or a profession that he needs. But
whatever he does, the love of one woman is
not and cannot be enough to occupy him.
When a man has a nature to love more
than one woman, what happens ? According
to our sacred laws he may marry them. They
are loved and honored by him, and the chil-
dren of this second or third love are his chil-
dren, and share his name as they share his
property. But what happens in your coun-
tries and with your habits? A man repudi-
ates his first wife, generally with a great deal
of scandal, for a second. He gives her little
money, and her children lose their father's
companionship. If the man cannot divorce
his wife, he leads her the life of a dog, and
lives a libertine himself. Or if he loves an-
other woman, and she loves him, and they
live together, the woman carries a burden of
shame, and the children born out of their
great love are outcasts."
As Djimlah spoke of our system her blue
eyes widened, her long earrings shook, and
disgust was painted on her beautiful features.
I chuckled inwardly, remembering some lec-
tures I had heard in America in which the
women of the harem were spoken of as most
miserable beings, and in which our duty was
pointed out to us to work toward their deliv-
*^Djimlah," I said, ^^you speak of course
from your experience, as perhaps the most
loved of the wives. Suppose to-morrow your
husband were to cast you aside and bring
into the household a younger and possibly a
handsomer wife — what then?"
Djimlah's pretty face lighted up with a
smile. ^^You dear, dear yavroum, you will
never understand. If my husband has ten
more wives, it does not alter my position. I
shall be his Djimlah then as always. He will
still love me for myself, for the love I have for
him, and for the children I have given him."
''But, Djimlah, wouldn't that love be
greater if he loved only you, and shared it
with no one else ? If you were the only affec-
tion in his life?"
Djimlah caressed my hand. ''My little
one, don't make this mistake in life. If you
were the most intelligent woman in the
world, the most entertaining, the most bril-
liant, the most beautiful, you could never be
everything to your husband. That is the way
Allah has made them; that is the way all of
them are — and those that are not are good
^^Djimlah," I said at last, perceiving that
she would never see my point of view, ''how
about the women? Don't they, too, need
more than one in their lives?''
Djimlah smiled her wise smile again.
*' Yavroum, women are not like men. Wo-
men, good women, natural women, are mo-
thers above all. Their hearts are filled the
moment they become mothers. All their ef-
fort, their ambition, their love, settles on the
head of the child."
Just then Kondje came in, carrying a small
basket full of rose-petals. She spoke in low
tones to the young wife, who blushed furi-
ously, and shyly bade me good-night.
"Honored Hanoum/' the young girl said
to me, "may I be so blessed as to have the
pleasure of giving you your bath of roses?"
"You may," I answered, "if you will call
me anything else except ' Honored Hanoum.'
I can stand being the bride of the brook and
the cloud of the sky, but I draw the line at
being 'Honored.' It makes me feel old and
venerable. And, besides, you know I have
not yet a husband, so I can't be 'Honored,'
Kondje, giggling, took down my hair,
filled it with rose-petals, and rubbed them
into the hair and scalp. Afterwards she did
the same to my body, so that in half an hour
I and the room were filled with the odor
of roses, and I went to sleep dreaming of
The following days revealed to me a
Djimlah so foreign to her former self as to be
an entirely new person. Even her beauty had
changed. It was no longer the audacious al-
lurement of a handsome animal: there was
calm and repose in it. She was still a woman
for men to love desperately, but with a higher
love, if one less maddening than the one she
would have inspired six years ago.
One night, as we were sitting on the foot of
my bed and talking of the past, I said to
*'Djimlah, you have changed morally and
mentally much more than I have physically,
though your change has been for the better.
What has done it?"
She laughed, and there was a little scorn in
her rippling young laugh. '^You dear little
crest of the wave, because you have been
studying and running around the world, ^ im-
proving' and 'enlarging' your mind, you
think that you know something. Why, you
are ignorant as my baby. You may think you
are ahead of me, but really you are very far
behind. The mysteries of the world, which
you do not even dream of, are mine. You
will never know them until you love a man
and are his. Then — " She clasped her
hands over her breast, and her face changed
its expression. It was lovely with a loveliness
mystic and holy. She leaned towards me, and
in a voice tremulous and full of melody, spoke
of her motherhood. ''To be a mother! To
see the pink rosy mouth of your baby seeking
life from your very body!" She raised her
hands. '' O Allah ! how good you are to wo-
men ! No, little mountain-spring, books will
never teach you life as a man and a child will.
Books may feed your mind, but your heart
will be starved — and human beings must
live through the heart."
She had moved me; I believed her; but
habit was stronger than momentary emotion.
I was living through my mind, and the next
minute I asked her : —
*' You used to say that love was nothing but
a matter of the senses. Did you find it so ? "
^'At first, yes — then all at once it changed.
You become a new person — a good woman
— when Allah gives you a child. Something
restful comes over the senses, and they retire
to the background ; they no longer dominate
'*And thus a woman acquires a soul?" I
She replied soberly : —
**A woman has no soul. It may be that if
she had she would spend her life cultivating
it, and forget that she had to devote herself to
those to whom she must give a soul. A wo-
man is a one-thought creature. Besides, she
stands for abnegation : to know life, she must
give, always give, and never ask for anything
in return. Through giving she grows —
never through receiving, for then she shrinks."
This was my Djimlah of six years ago ! She
had travelled far and fast on the road which
leads to the divine throne, through her love
and her mother-love. She was right : books
do not teach life.
VALIDfi HANOUM, THE RESIGNED
Three days after my arrival in this Turk-
ish household, as I was coming out of the
bathing-house, I was presented with a small
basket trimmed with gauze and flowers. Ex-
amining it, I found that it contained an em-
broidered scarf, and a note from the Valid^
requesting me, if willing, to spend the day
with her. I was delighted — as was Djimlah
— at this mark of consideration from the
The older Hanoum received me at the
threshold of her apartment with great cere-
mony. We both salaamed to the ground in
the proper salutation, the temena, the Validd,
as the older, beginning first.
This day I spent with her was one of the
most interesting of my stay. Very rarely
have I been so fortunate as to meet a woman
who had so little of the common feminine pet-
tiness in her nature. The Valide Hanoum
was easily queen of her household. She was
in her thirty-eighth year, but retained much
of what must once have been her chief claim
to beauty, her splendid figure. I do not think
her face could ever have been considered
beautiful in the East, for their standard is
very high. In America she would have been
called a very handsome woman. She was of
the brunette type, with wonderful brown
hair, clear complexion, and large gray eyes.
But her great charm was her personality.
She directed the conversation in French, as
she had heard me say the day of my arrival
that Turkish was bothering me. According
to Turkish standards she was highly edu-
cated. She knew Arabic and Persian litera-
ture well, and, through translations, Greek.
Though she spoke French fluently, she was
little acquainted with French writers; and in
speaking the language she used Oriental
idioms entirely. She was a great admirer of
the Greek tragedians, and thought Sophocles
understood women well — *'as well as a man
can," she added with a whimsical smile.
Her breadth of character struck me as so
unusual that I told her, after I had spent half
the day with her, that were I to spend a few
years with her I should become a nice person.
She liked the compliment very much, and
said so. Turkish women do not make our
pretence of disparaging compliments to
themselves. After a second thought she said
earnestly : —
'^ You would not like our life after a while."
''Why?" I asked. ^
She considered for a few minutes. ''For
many reasons; but uppermost for your blood.
There is no use going against nature. For
generations you have led a different life, and
you could not accept ours."
"Do you think that it would be impossible
for European women to come and live with
you ? "
''No, my child, not impossible, for many
European women have married our men and
lived happily ; but it would be impossible for
you. By the way,", — she was smiling now,
and I knew that it was coming, — ''I shall be
very happy to see you marry, yavrounty to
see you happy, for you have become dear to
me, the little I have seen of you."
I have learned to expect this refrain of
''you must marry"; for the Turkish women
consider marriage the acme of human happi-
ness. I have come since to think like them,
but at the time it did annoy me.
The Valide was very unlike my friend
Djimlah. What she knew of our life she did
not condemn. She even considered certain
ways of ours superior to theirs. The key-
note of her character was tolerance and kind-
ness. In the course of the conversation I told
her of what I had asked Djimlah on my first
night in the household, and of Djimlah's ways
of looking at things.
" Do you agree with her, Valide Hanoum ? "
I asked, burning with the desire to hear her
views on the subject.
She looked before her for a few minutes,
as if she were considering either Djimlah's
words, or whether she should really take the
trouble to enlighten my poor brain. After
a while she drew from her embroidered bag
some tobacco, took a sheet of tissue paper
out of a book three inches long by one wide,
and made herself a cigarette. A slave pre-
sented her the flame of a match between her
palms. The Valide lighted her cigarette and
took two or three puffs, holding it with a pair
of gold tongs, which hung by a golden chain
from her waist.
^^When I married my husband," she said,
*'I was only fifteen and he was seventeen.
Within four years two big boys were born to
us." She raised her eyes to the ceiling and
thanked Allah. *'I was very happy — terri-
bly happy." She lost herself for a few min-
utes in that happiness. ''When my husband
told me that he wished to take another wife to
his bosom, my heart was knifed to the mid-
dle. I cried for days and days. I walked
about like one in a dream ; but all the while I
knew that he was right, that the thing had to
be done. After a while I fought myself down,
but I could not live with the second wife.
I told him so. He bought me a beautiful
house at Scutari, and I moved there with my
retinue and slaves. Of course my husband
was to come and see us whenever he liked.
This arrangement pained him very much;
and in a few months he came to tell me that
he had given up the idea of second marriage.
We lived for another year, when I found out
that the other woman was dying for love of
my husband, and that he still longed for her.
I knew also that my life was no longer the
same. I made them marry, and I went back
again to my house at Scutari. I was young,
I was proud, I was hurt. I did not see why
my husband should want another wife. Wo-
men when young don't understand their hus-
bands very well. Two years passed, a little
girl was born to them, and they named her
after me. My husband came to see me very
often, but I could not feel the same toward
him. He understood it, and never asked for
more than I could give him. My child, can
you believe it, but I was glad, glad that he
suffered for me — that if I could not make
him love me, at least I could make him
*'At the end of two years the mother and
child came to see me. The child was very deli-
cate; the mother looked dying. She stayed
with me for a few days; and when it was
time to go, she could not go — I could not let
her. I understood many things then. When
I told my husband that I was to keep them,
he fell to my knees and cried like a boy.''
She leaned over and took my hand. "You
never know, yavroum, in what way Allah is
going to help you to come out of your mean
self. But he is always watching and waiting
to give us our chance. He gave me mine and
I took it, and with it came back the love of
my husband, a newer and younger love, a
love that was tried.
''After that Allah marked me for his own,
and I travelled the road of sorrow. It is a
long, long road, and you follow it bleeding.
But at the end Allah shows you his face, and
peace descends upon you. You understand
many things that you never understood be-
fore, and the people become your brothers.
The way I was to know sorrow was of the
hardest; my first-born boy was killed before
my eyes. A few months later a baby girl
came to me in this world. When I learned to
love her and she to put her arms around me,
Allah took her from me. In my motherly
grief I forgot my husband and my duties
towards him. That is the way always with
women. I made his home sad and unlivable.
It was at that time that the Sultan gave to
my pasha a beautiful young woman from the
palace. As our ways are, he had to free her
and marry her. Though he did so, he has
never made her his wife, as he did not raise
her veil after the wedding ceremony. She
was confided to me to take care of and to pro-
tect. Her life was not very happy, and I did
all I could to make it so. After our master
married Djimlah, she dared even speak to
him about Aishe; but he was quite stern in
the old creed, and he did not believe in gift-
wives. Djimlah, however, gave her her
second-born boy to love and bring up as her
very own, and in this way to learn the joy of
motherhood. The child was taken to her im-
mediately after its birth. Djimlah had an
idea that should our master chance to see the
beauty from the palace with his child, he
could not but love her. It hurts us all to have
a young and beautiful woman among us who
may never know a good man's love. But it
was no use. Our pasha went to her and saw
the boy, but the adopted mother still remains
an official wife only. She is very happy, how-
ever, with her little gift-son, and he loves her
more than he does his own mother. Of course
he does not know that Djimlah really is his
mother. Ever since that arrangement, though,
I think there is more happiness all round in
the house, for Allah has sent his blessing for a
I could not help asking how Djimlah crept
into the household.
**I gave her to my husband,'' was the quick
reply, *'and it was the happiest deed of my
life. You see, yavroum, when I gave myself
to the luxury of sorrow I could not easily
come back to the life's joys. The second wife
was sickly, and the third only official. And
one night, when it was cold and the wind
blew, I thought of my master all alone," —
she spoke as if she were describing one per-
ishing on a desert island, — ''and I thought
of my wickedness and cast about in my mind
for a happier inmate to come to our home.
Our Djimlah has proved to be Allah's gift to
us all. My little girl, who was born after
Djimlah's three sons, and named after her,
is the joy of my old age." (She was thirty-
eight, remember.) ''This little girl is Al-
lah's new proof that he has forgiven me my
*' Vahde Hanoum, in your heart you do not
approve of men being allowed to have more
than one wife, do you?" I asked.
^' But I do, yavroum,''^ she said vehemently;
''that is why I told you my life, so that you
could see how much happier we all are if
things are done as Allah ordained them."
''But, Valide Hanoum," I persisted, "you
do not really think that God meant men to
have more than one wife?"
"I think that he must, my little one, other-
wise I do not see why he has created them
different from us — why they do not have the
same maternal instincts as we have."
"Just the same, Valide Hanoum," I said
with some warmth, "I do not think that God
meant it; and if so many privileges were not
allowed to men they would content them-
selves with one wife."
Here the Valide showed her tact and her
sense of humor, for she leaned over, took
me to her, kissed me tenderly, and said that
after all Allah might have meant it while God
did not. ^^You see, yavroum, things are dif-
ferent, perhaps, with you than they are with
That the Valide did not mind my hetero-
doxy she manifested by inviting me to spend
another day with her, when she took me on
a long drive, on her way to a shrine to pray.
When she left the mosque she told me gayly
that she had prayed to Allah for me only that
day, and that she knew I could not go on now
without God's blessing, and that a husband
sooner or later was coming to me. On our
way back she told me that she was expecting
her little daughter-in-law, who was not very
strong, and who needed the care and advice
of the old. ''She is coming with her mother
and baby. My son, too, will be with them.
You must see them," she said proudly, ''for
there are not two lilies more beautiful in this
world than my boy and his bride."
THE GIFT-WIFE FROM THE
From what the Vah'de Hanoum had told
me about Aishe Hanoum, Selim Pasha's third
wife, it was natural I should take a special
interest in this poor lady, who was wife and
no wife, and mother only by proxy.
I had known before that, when the Sultan
of Turkey particularly desired to honor one
of his pashas, he presented him with one of
the beautiful women who adorned his palace
and who had not yet become his wife. I also
knew that, according to Mussulman etiquette,
the pasha had to free her and make her his
wife. But I had never before met such a wo-
man, and until I knew her history I had
taken no particular interest in Aishe Ha-
noum, beyond noticing her beauty; for she
was of a very retiring disposition. I had
thought her one of those persons who are
content to live their lives in a dream and let
reality pass by.
But meeting her, after I knew her story, I
asked her if she was not going to invite me to
spend a day with her.
^^ Indeed I am," she replied, *^only it is not
my turn. I must find out when the second
wife wishes to have you; for my turn must
wait on hers.''
'^ She told me that she was not well enough
to see me.''
" Oh ! then will you spend to-morrow with
The next morning, I had just finished my
morning toilet when a slave came to conduct
me to Ai'sh^ Hanoum, from whom she pre-
sented me with an indoor veil. I arranged it
on my hair, to show my appreciation of the
gift, and followed the slave to the floor below,
where her mistress lived.
When I entered her apartments, I found
her kneeling before an easel, deep in work.
As the slave announced me, she rose from the
ground and came to me with outstretched
hand. It struck me as curious that she of-
fered to shake hands, instead of using the
temendy the Turkish form of salutation, since
I knew her to be extremely punctilious in the
customs of her nation. I suppose she did this
to make me feel more at home.
''Welcome, young Hanoum," she said,
after kissing me on both cheeks.
''Do you paint?" I asked, going toward
the easel, disguising my surprise at meeting
with such disregard of Mussulman customs
in this orthodox household.
"No, not painting, just playing. It is only
an impression, not a reproduction of one of
Allah's realities." Good Mussulmans do not
believe in "reproducing Allah's realities";
yet there stood on the easel a charming pas-
tel. Even orthodox Moslems, I saw, were not
above beating the devil round the stump.
"How very beautiful!" I exclaimed.
"Aish^ Hanoum, you are an artist."
''Pray! pray! young Hanoum/' she pro-
tested, a little frightened I thought, ''pray
do not say such things. I am not an artist.
I only play with the colors.'^
"Let me see some more of your playing,"
Rather reluctantly, though wishing to com-
ply with her guest^s desires, she brought out
a large portfolio, containing several pastels
and water-colors, and we sat down on a rug
to examine them.
Whether they were well done or not I can-
not tell; but they were full of life and happi-
ness. The curious part was that, whenever
she painted any outdoor life, she painted it
from her window, and on the canvas first was
the window, and then through it you saw the
landscape as she saw it.
The more I looked at her work, the more
enthusiastic I grew. "You must be very
talented," I said, turning to her. "It is a
pity that you cannot go abroad to study."
"But I have studied many years here."
"That is all very well/' I said, still busy
looking at the pictures; ''just the same you
ought to go to Paris to study."
''What for?" she asked.
"Because I think you have a great deal of
talent which unfortunately is wasted in a
harem." As I spoke, I raised my eyes.
Ordinarily I am not a coward, though I do
run from a mouse ; but when my eyes met her
finely pencilled ones, there was a curious look
of anger in them that made a shiver go down
my back. "If I have said anything to offend
you," I said, "I beg you to forgive me. Be-
lieve me it was my enthusiasm."
She smiled in a most charming way. If she
had been angry it had gone quickly by.
" But why do you wish me to go to Paris?"
she asked again.
"I don't know," I said, "except that Paris
is nearer Turkey than any other great centre,
and I feel that you ought to have the advan-
tage of being where you could get all the help
"What for?'' she inquired.
I began to feel uncomfortable. I knew her
very little, and this was the first time I ever
visited a former Seraigli (one who has been
an inmate of the Imperial palace).
"Because," I answered lamely, "when a
person has talent she generally goes to Paris
or to some other great artistic centre."
"What for?" again insisted the question.
If I had not been in a harem, and in the
presence of a woman of whom I was some-
what afraid, my answer would have been,
"Well, if you are foolish enough not to know,
why, what is the use of telling you?" In-
stead, while that exquisite hand was lying
on my arm and those big almond-shaped eyes
were holding mine, I tried to find a way of
" If you were free to go, you could see mas-
terpieces, you could study various methods of
painting, and if it were in you, you might
become great in turn."
"What for?" was the calm inquiry.
She was very beautiful; not of the Turkish
type, but of the pure Circassian, with ex-
quisite lines and a very low, musical voice,
and of all things on this earth I am most sus-
ceptible to physical beauty. At that particu-
lar moment, however, I should have derived
great pleasure if I could have smacked her
*'Well,'' I said calmly, though I was irri-
tated, '' if you had a great talent, and became
very famous, you would not only have all the
money you wanted, but glory and admira-
*'What for?" she repeated with inhuman
^^For heaven's sake, Aishd Hanoum," I
cried, ''I don't know what for; but if I could,
I should like to become famous and have
glory and lots of money."
^' What for?"
'* Because then I could go all over the
world, and see everything that is to be seen,
and meet all sorts of interesting people."
"Hanoum doudoUj^^ I cried, lapsing into
the Turkish I had spoken as a child. "Are
you trying to make a fool of me, or — ''
She put her palms forward on the floor, and
then her head went down and she laughed
immoderately. I laughed too, considerably
relieved to have done with her "what for's."
She drew me to her as if I were a baby, and
took me on her lap. " You would do all these
things and travel about like a mail-bag be-
cause you think it would make you happy,
don't you, yavroum?^^ she asked.
"Of course I should be happy.''
"Is this why you ran away from home —
to get famous and rich?"
She was speaking to me precisely as if I
were a little bit of a thing, and was to be
coaxed out of my foolishness.
"I have neither fame nor riches," I an-
swered, "so we need not waste our breath."
"Sorry, yavroum, sorry," she said sym-
pathetically. "I should have liked you to get
both; then you would see that it would not
have made you happy. Happiness is not
acquired from satisfied desires."
^^What is happiness, then?" I asked.
^' Allah kerim [God only can explain it].
But it comes not from what we possess, but
from what we let others possess; and no
amount of fame would have made me leave
my home and go among alien people to learn
their ways of doing something which I take
great pleasure in doing in my own way." She
kissed me twice on the cheek and put me
down by her. "You are a dear litde one,"
she said as she began to prepare a cigarette.
"Aish^ Hanoum," I asked, ''don't you
really sometimes wish you were a free Euro-
She wet the tissue paper of her cigarette
and gave it a careful twist. ''I have never
seen a European man to whom I should like
to belong," she informed me.
'' Goodness gracious, why should you be-
long to any man at all?"
''But I should not like to be one of those
detached females that come to us from Ingle-
terra and your America. They are repul-
sive to me. A human being is like a tree or a
flower; it must be productive and useful. A
woman must have a lord and children."
''But you have no children," I could not
"Have I not, though?" She clapped her
hands, and to the slave who came in she said,
"Bring in my son, please."
A few minutes later the young bey was
brought in. He was a sturdy little fellow, full
of health and good looks. No sooner was he
in sight than mother and child were kissing
and loving. When, after a few minutes, he
was taken away, Aishe Hanoum informed me
that till he was twelve years old she was to
teach and instruct him herself. "We are al-
ways together except when I have guests.
Then the child is out to play. You say I have
no children ! I wish you would stay here till
the day I am to give my daughters away."
''Your daughters?" I repeated.
''Yes, I am liberating two of my young
slaves. I bought them when they were ten
years old. I instructed them myself; and
now they are going to be freed and given into
marriage, to be happy in the love they will
give and take."
I thought that in her voice there was
a sad note as she said the last words; but
then I am a very imaginative person, and
my imagination is apt to play tricks with
"I am going to stay," I said. "The Va-
lide [the first wife] asked me to wait for the
wedding, and also for the arrival of her son
and his young wife."
"Oh! I am indeed very pleased. You
know, yavrounty we all like you, and should
be very glad to have you be happy in the love
of a good man."
"Aishe Hanoum," I asked, "are you
She looked at me for a minute or so while
she inhaled and then exhaled the smoke of
her dainty cigarette.
''Would you like to know?"
''I will tell you all about myself — but you
must not make me forget that you are my
guest, and that I must look after your com-
fort." She clapped her hands, and a young,
pretty slave came in to take orders. I fancied
that the slave had been crying.
"You are not the one I called for," said
Aish^ Hanoum; ''and what is more, you
must stop coming in when I call."
The tears began to trickle down the cheeks
of the young girl. I was quite surprised. In
all my experience with Turkish women, I
never saw them stern with their slaves, and
this young girl looked particularly miserable.
The official wife clapped her hands again,
and this time another slave came in.
" Bring us in some sherbets and some cakes
and cold water."
The slaves departed, and in a little while
the one who had been crying returned. Aish^
Hanoum looked at the girl, who, elaborately
unconscious of the stern look, put her tray
down, brought near us two low tables, inlaid
with mother-of-pearl, and disposed the eat-
ables on them.
''Have I not told you not to wait on me?"
The girl crossed her arms on her breast and
stood motionless. She was very pretty ; rather
tall, with glorious copper-colored hair, and
''What will the young Hanoum here think
of your disobedience to me?'' the mistress
The girl looked at me through her tears.
"I am sure that if the young Hanoum
knew of the sorrow that is eating my poor
heart, she would take my part/' she said, with
great pathos in her voice.
"I am inclined to think she would," said
her mistress, "for I am afraid the young
Hanoum is not very practical."
In an instant the young girl was prostrated
before me, kissing my hands, kissing my
feet, and imploring me in the name of all the
flowers that grow on great Allah's land to
hear her and intercede with her mistress.
I took the child's hand into mine and tried
to comfort her ; then turning to her mistress
I begged to know the cause of her grief.
*'I will tell you, though I am afraid you are
the wrong person."
At a bound the slave was by her mistress.
Her greenish eyes were dark blue and fiery.
" If you present my case it is lost. Let me have
the word ; let me show her my heart ; for it is
my heart she is to judge, not yours. Be just,
my mistress, since you give me this chance."
** Suppose we put it off. Suppose Hanoum
Djimlah be the judge, and not this Hanoum
here. She does not know our ways very
much. She is not of our faith, and she is
young in experience. She has not yet a lord
to her heart," the mistress explained.
The slave drew herself up and fairly
towered above us. Her little hands were
clasped tightly on her bosom. She threw her
head back and looked at her mistress. There
was defiance in her whole attitude.
"You might just as well say that you want
to cheat me out of the chance you offered to
Aishe Hanoum sighed and gave in. " Serve
us first with something, for we are thirsty."
The slave poured out some sherbet in the
tall golden goblets — a present to Aish^
Hanoum from the Palace — and ministered
to our wants; then she took her place on the
floor, crosslegged, and said to her mistress : —
''You are not to speak, beauty, at all, till
I have done."
"Very well, foolish," said the mistress.
"Young Hanoum, my story is not very
long, so I will not tire your kind ears with my
miserable woes. I only want justice, and may
Allah help you to help me. I was five years
old when I was given to my mistress here. I
have been faithful, good, patient, obedient,
loving to her. I have never vexed her. When
I was fourteen years old, she wanted to free
me and give me as a wife to a man. Why
should I be given to a man when I want to
stay here? I pleaded and pleaded, and she
said that I might stay two years more. The
two years passed as a day, and I was again to
be given as a wife. I pleaded and cried again,
and my mistress said that I might have two
years more. Young Hanoum, have you ever
watched the clouds on Allah's blue rug?
Those years granted to me, faded from my
unhappy eyes as quickly as they, and for days
now she will not speak to me because I will
not go. But I stay outside this door and wait
on her just the same. She says that this time
it is to a very nice, young, wealthy man she
is going to marry me. But what is a man to
me? It is my mistress I want; it is her face
that must gladden daily my miserable exist-
ence. It is here by her that I want to live and
die. Oh! young Hanoum, give me justice;*
and may the cypress tree that grows by the
grave of your dear ones defy all the winds ! "
Thereupon the girl began to cry; and between
her moans she continued: '^This mistress is
for me what to the trees are the leaves, what
to the birds are the wings, what to the little
babies is a mother. She says if I do not
marry she will sell me to some one."
I can give here the words, but they cannot
show the pathos, the passion that the girl put
in them. It made my heart melt within me,
not from pity for the slave, but from envy for
the mistress. Think of owning such a faithful
*'I have heard your side," I said; "and
now you would better go, and I will talk it
over with your mistress."
The slave came to me, kissed my hand
ever so tenderly, and left the room.
''Aish^ Hanoum," I asked, ''why do you
want the child to be married and leave you,
since her happiness is with you?"
''You do not understand all the circum-
stances, yavroum; that is why you ask me^
You see she is mine, and I can free her and
make a home for her. If I die to-morrow,
what will become of her ? She might be freed,
and she might not. In the last case she would
have to belong to some one else for seven
years before being freed. Or she might be
changing hands all the time. I love her; she
is my little girl, for I brought her up; and I
want to see her marry and have babies of her
own. She can see me all she wishes to. But
what she wants is to feel that she belongs to
me. She is getting old. It is time for her to be
wife and mother. She is so beautiful; her
figure is so perfect. It would be a pity to
waste all that beauty in life."
*' But she will be unhappy if she goes away
^^No; she does not know. A woman is
never so happy as in the love she bears to her
little ones and to the giver of them."
'^What will you do?" I asked. *^Will you
really sell her to somebody else?"
**No, indeed; but I was going to send her
away for a while. Only she is of such a pas-
sionate nature she might do violence to her-
self. I have to act with great discretion."
'* What manner of man is the one you want
to marry her to ? She probably does not fancy
''I have tried hard to have her see him
from the window," said Ai'she Hanoum
laughingly; ^^but every time I take her to the
window and bid her look, she closes her eyes.
She will be very happy indeed, and will have
a slave of her own, but she is obstinate."
*'Why not let her wait for a while?" I
*^I am afraid of losing this good chance.
I want to see all of them that are of age well
*' Suppose," I said, '*that I decide that you
are to let the girl alone?"
She laughed her merry little laugh, and
looked so beautiful that I wondered how a
woman with such a wonderful beauty as hers
could be given to two men and still remain
unloved by them.
" Yavroum, you would not really decide to
do anything so foolish, and destine such a
beautiful handiwork of Allah's to barren-
ness ? Besides, while she was telling her woes
to you, I found a way out of the difficulty. I
am going to ofiFer to let her live with me after
her marriage. At the end of a year she will
know that I was right."
She clapped her hands. The girl came in.
'Xome here, Kioutchouk-Gul." (The
slaves often are given fancy names by their
mistresses. This one meant Little Rose.)
The slave came and made herself ever so
little at the feet of her beloved mistress.
^*I think Allah has shown me a way out of
our troubles." She took the girPs hands into
hers. ^'It is not marriage you object to so
much as leaving me?"
The girl nodded.
*^Then how would you like to marry and
still live with me? We both should have our
In a second the girl was in the arms of
Aishe Hanoum, calling her all sorts of en-
dearing names, in which the Oriental lan-
guage is so rich.
Thus the incident ended. The sight of the
tremendous love she had inspired in her slave
gave me an idea of the beautiful character
Aishd Hanoum must have.
'^Aish^ Hanoum/' I said when we were
left alone, **you promised to tell me all about
yourself. Will you do so now?"
*^Yes, yavroum; but will you tell me all
about yourself and yoiu* life in America after-
wards ? ''
**I was born in Roumely, where my father
was a nomadic chief," she began.
The mere word Roumely to those who are
born in the East is full of suggestion of bal-
lads of valorous deeds and supernatural do-
ings. Aish^ Hanoum became to my mind a
more romantic figure than before.
*^I remember quite well the way we lived.
All we possessed was done up in bundles, for
we moved from one place to the other con-
stantly. At night, if it was rainy or cold, the
men would pitch the tents; and while the wo-
men and children slept inside, the men would
sleep outside, one always on guard. But gen-
erally we all slept under Allah's own eyes.
Life was like a dream, and like a dream it
quickly vanished. My father died, leaving
my mother alone to care for six little hungry
mouths. We left the mountains and walked
for days to reach a town. When there my
mother took to doing all kinds of work to
support us. I was only six years old. All I
remember of that time is like another dream,
only this time a bad one and it lasted longer,
though, as days and nights count, not as
many as five hundred I think. My mother's
life became a sad one, and there was no longer
sunshine and music. We lived in a little
house which to me was like a wooden box,
and soon we all became ill, and were very
miserable. I do not think Allah meant his
people to live in houses. He made the world
SO beautiful, that we might live in it and be
happy. To this minute I cannot accustom
myself to live in one room. That is why I
have this big space."
In fact she had taken three rooms, sixteen
by twenty, and had them thrown together,
slender columns supporting the ceiling. I
was wondering what she would say if she saw
a few of New York's apartments, where even
Allah's sun is not potent enough to pierce
high walls and enter.
''One day, however, my mother came to
us with joy in her face and said to me : ' My
children, your father must be having in his
favor the ear of the Prophet. Here comes to
us a miraculous help. A rich Hanoum wishes
to buy six or seven little girl slaves. I am
going to sell you three little girls, and with
the money go back to the mountains to bring
up your brothers as true Roumeliotes, not
like mice in a city.'
''We were very happy. I did not know at
the time what slavery was; but my mother
explained it, and we were glad of the chance
given to us."
I must explain here that slavery in Turkey
is not what the word implies in Christendom.
A slave in Turkey is like an adopted child,
to whom is given every advantage according
to her talents. If she is beautiful, she is
brought up like a young lady and is given as
a wife to a noble and rich man ; if she is plain
and clever, she becomes a teacher; if she is
plain and not clever, she learns to do the
manual work, sewing or domestic labor. Ac-
cording to the Koran, a slave must be freed
after seven years of servitude and be given a
dowry of no less than two hundred and fifty
Slaves always fare better than if they
stayed at home. Generally they are drawn
from the people who have been slaves them-
selves, or from orphans. To a Turk who is
poor, selling his children into slavery means
giving them advantages which he could not
possibly give them himself.
**Were you sorry to leave your mother?"
^'How could I be sorry," was her reply,
'* since I was giving her back to her moun-
tains and her sunshine ? My two little sisters
and myself journeyed for days, sometimes on
the backs of animals, and sometimes in what
seemed to me then wooden boxes on wheels.
^'In the house of my new mistress I re-
mained with my sisters for seven years. She
was lovely to us, and although we did not
live out-of-doors all the time, we lived in a
large house, in a very large garden, and by
the water. It was in Smyrna. We had never
seen anything before except mountains and
trees. When we came to Smyrna we were
afraid of everything, even of the commonest
things. After we had learned that all the
strange things would not hurt us, we were
taken out on the water in a small boat, and
after a time we were taught how to make it
go ourselves. We also learned to read and
write, and we were taught French, and to
paint and play the guitar, and to dance. They
were not as strict there as they are in my
household here. When I was fourteen I w^as
spoken of as a very beautiful person, and a
Hanoum who came to see me once said I was
only fit for the Sultan. My beauty travelled
from Smyrna to the Palace, and some one
came out to our house to see me. That is
how I was given to the Sultan on his anniver-
" Were you sorry to be sent to the Palace ? "
She looked at me as if I had asked some-
thing that only people out of their minds
''I was so happy," said she, as if speaking
to herself, ^'that for nights I could not go to
sleep. At last the day came when I was to
see the great ruler of the greatest nation of
the living world." She crossed her hands on
her lap with a far-away look on her face, as
if gazing on her dead youth and its dreams.
As I looked at her I was wondering
whether she had ever had any happiness, and
unconsciously I found myself asking her,
^'Were you happy in the Palace?"
My question brought her back to the earth,
and she laughed her gay little laugh, and
patted my hand.
'^You dear yavroum, you are such a little
baby, why should I not be happy? To me
was given the honor of being sent to the Calif,
which was no less an honor to my new mo-
ther than it was to me.''
^^Did you see the Sultan?'' I asked.
'' Y-e-s. When I reached the Palace I was
taken to my rooms; and after a few days,
when I was sufficiently rested, they dressed
me ever so beautifully for the Pattissah to
Again that far-away look came into her
pretty face, but she went on with her story.
^^It was in a large living-room, we were all
assembled — such beautiful women and so
many! I was by the chair of the Sultana
when he, our ruler, came in. I was presented
to him, and he smiled kindly at me, and said
that he hoped I should be happy in the Pal-
ace. I was given by his order many gems
and costly robes and slaves of my very own,
but Allah never meant for me the honor of
wifehood with the Master. Kismet, Ne
'*0h! Aishe Hanoum!" I cried when she
stopped. ''Do tell me more of palace life."
''No, no, yavroum, you cannot know that.
It is not spoken out of the Palace; but you
may see the litde girl I am hoping some day
to send there."
I gasped. "You don't mean to say that
you are going to send somebody to the Pal-
"Why, you dear little crest of the waves,
why should I not, when I find a little girl who
I think is going to be most gloriously beauti-
She clapped her hands and Kioutchouk-
Gul came in beaming with smiles. Her mis-
tress returned the smiles as she said : —
''Bring me in Gul-Allen" (Rose of the
A few minutes later a little girl was marched
in. She was tall and well shaped, and carried
her head magnificently. She was four years
old, but looked seven. If she grows up to be
as beautiful as she looked then, she will make
a stunner. The curious part was that she
looked like her mistress. Her eyes were that
almond shape, the color, as Rossetti expresses
it, like the sea and the sky mixed together,
only in theirs the landscape was mixed in too.
Every feature in her face seemed to have been
nature's great care. The color of her skin
was clear white, and you could see the veins
as if they were finely traced with a blue pen-
cil, and her mouth was Cupid's bow.
'' Aish6 Hanoum," I begged, when the child
left us, ''please don't send her to the Palace.
Suppose she never becomes his wife. She
will be happier with a young man for a hus-
Ai'she Hanoum looked puzded at me.
** Suppose you had a great talent, and your
mother never gave you a chance with it,
would you think her just ? You see, yavroum,
I am giving you an example from your own
standards to judge. Tell me, would n't you
blame her all your life?'^
*^It would be the same with my little Gul-
"But suppose when she grows up she
refuses to go, like the other?''
'*0h, she will not; for she will be brought
up with this idea in mind. Her education is
to be very careful. Besides, in the heart of
every Mussulman woman, the highest honor
on this side of the earth is to give a son to the
Pattissah. You have to be a Turkish woman
to understand this. And now you must see
my palace robes and my gems."
Kioutchouk-Gul received her orders, and
in a few minutes she came in, carrying on her
head a bundle two feet thick and four long,
and in that space carefully folded were twenty
most gorgeous garments ! Think of the space
twenty of our stupid gowns would require !
Kioutchouk-Gul opened the Persian shawl,
and as she unfolded each garment she pa-
raded it on her slim shoulders. In my child-
hood I was put to sleep with Oriental tales,
where the princesses wore magnificent clothes
that only a fairy queen's wand could produce.
Those garments belonged to that category.
Bright silks represented sky and stars worked
with silver and gold and fastened with pre-
cious stones. There was one of dark red on
which were embroidered with silver thread
white chrysanthemums, and the heart of each
flower on the front border was a topaz !
Think of having all these clothes and the
jewelry to go with them because the Sultan
cast his eyes five minutes on you. No wonder
that in the heart of every Mussulman woman
the desire to go to the Palace is so great.
Though it is religion that prompts them,
where is the truly feminine heart that is in-
different to beautiful garments?
From Ai'she Hanoum I went to my room
rather bewildered. Orientalism was like a
labyrinth: the more I advanced in it, the
more entangled I became. One woman after
another was confronting me with a new pro-
blem, a new phase of life; and I felt stupid
and incapable of understanding them. It
hurt my vanity, too, to find how small I was
in comparison with them. I should have liked
really to sell myself to them for a year, merely
to be able to live with them continuously, to
try to understand a little more of their lives.
They interested and charmed me : they were
so much worth understanding. There was so
much of the sublime in them, which is lack-
ing in our European civilization. I felt petty
and trivial every time I found myself facing
one of those conditions which they under-
stood so well. It is true that in Europe and
America there are, and have been, women
who sacrifice their lives for big causes. But
as a rule it is a cause to which glory is at-
tached, or else some tremendous thing they
half understand, and to which they give
themselves blindly because of its appeal to
that sentimentahty which is so colossal in
European women. With these Turkish wo-
men the sacrifices came in the small things
of daily life, things for which they received
no thanks, for which their names did not
become immortal. And through their self-
abnegation they were reaching heights un-
known to us of the western world. I do not
mean to say that our women do not sacrifice
themselves in every-day life. They do; but it
is not with the sublimity of soul with which
these supposed soulless women do.
HOULME HANOUM, THE DISCON-
While I was visiting Selim Pasha's house-
hold, Djimlah's youngest half-sister, Houlm^,
was there, too. She had been brought up by
her maternal grandfather far away from
Constantinople, somewhere in Asia Minor,
and I had never seen her until the present
visit. She was very friendly to me from a dis-
tance, like a timid wood-goddess, who dared
not approach. Now and then she would smile
at me, and her large eyes seemed full of ques-
tioning. She did not look modern, and did
not move like ordinary women. I always
thought of her as Antigone.
One evening, unexpectedly, she came to
my room, looking like a vestal, and carrying
a basket full of flower-petals. She asked if she
might give me my flower-bath. This was a
great honor to a mortal like me, for her
grandmother had been a sister of the Sultan.
I anticipated that now, at last, she would talk
to me; but she gave me my bath almost with-
out a word. Then, when she asked permis-
sion to spend the night wfth me, and after the
slaves had made her bed at the foot of mine,
I again expected some conversation from her :
again young Houlm^ crept into her little bed,
stretched her arms out, palms upward, and
prayed that Allah, the only true God, should
guard the living and help the dead, and
quietly laid herself down to sleep.
For more than an hour I lay in bed, and
sleep would not come. I wondered whether
the young Turkish girl was asleep, and fell
to thinking about her. My thoughts on
Houlme were interrupted pleasantly by a
nightingale. I have heard nightingales all
over Europe, but they do not sing as they
do in the East. The reason perhaps is be-
cause all over the world they are mere birds,
while in the East they are the mythical Bul-
Buls, the souls starved for love. It is be-
lieved that once a Bul-Bul loved a rose, and
the rose aroused by the song woke trembling
on her stem. It was a white rose, as all roses
at the time were — white, innocent, and vir-
ginal. It listened to the song, and something
in its rose heart stirred. Then the Bul-Bul
came ever so near the trembling rose and
whispered words which the rose could not
help hearing. "Ben severim sana Gul-GuU^
At those words of love the little heart of the
rose blushed, and in that instant pink roses
were created. The Bul-Bul came nearer and
nearer, and though Allah, when he created
the world, meant that the rose alone should
never know earthly love, it opened its petals
and the Bul-Bul stole its virginity. In the
morning the rose in its shame turned red,
giving birth to red roses; and although ever
since then the nightingale comes nightly to
ask of the divine love, the rose refuses; for
Allah never meant rose and bird to mate.
Thus, although the rose trembles at the
voice of the nightingale, its petals remain
That night the memory of this story was
particularly dear to me, because it brought
back to me my childhood dreams. In order
to enjoy better the nightingale I sat up. The
little platform on which my bed was made
creaked, and Houlme spoke.
*'Are you awake, too, young Hanoum?"
''I have been unable to sleep," I said.
*'I have not been asleep either. There is
no sleep to-night for mortals."
She got out of bed, went to a closet, and
brought out two white silk burnooses.
*^ Come, young Hanoum," she said. '' Come,
let us no longer stay in our beds."
I threw over my shoulders the soft garment.
Houlm6 put hers on. She took my hand,
and we went out on the little balcony.
It was one of those wonderful Oriental
nights, when the beauty of nature is intox-
icating, maddening. The sky was indigo-
blue without the shadow of a cloud; the stars
were brilliantly lighting the hills and the
garden, and a half-grown moon was travel-
ling fast toward the Bosphorus. Except for
the singing of the nightingale all was still.
*'That is why we cannot sleep." It was
Houlme speaking. ^' There is too much love
on the earth to-night; and we being of the
earth cry for our own. My poor heart has
travelled over endless seas and is with him
now, and my young life is crying for him."
It was a strange night, and that Mahom-
etan girl standing next to me in her glori-
ous beauty, and talking a language mysteri-
ous as the East, captivated my imagination.
As I looked at her, at her large black eyes
and arched eyebrows, her ivory complexion
and her lovely mouth, I felt that she could
do things that an ordinary woman could not.
And the night had loosened her tongue, as
it had the nightingale's.
^^I sometimes think," she went on, ^^that
it is wrong for women to think and to know
much, for they kill nature with their thoughts.
Men, great men, never think when it comes
to love ; they only love and taste life. It is as
it should be, as Allah meant life and love to
be. What has our poor woman's mind to do
with the workings of the universe? If it
were not for my foolish thinking, I should
not be craving love now like the Bul-Bul."
Turkish women in some ways are very
different from the women of other races.
They may be more educated than our col-
lege girls, they may speak four or five lan-
guages, and read the masterpieces of each of
these languages, but they remain children of
nature, as we do not. If you spend a day
with them and they love you, you will know
their hearts and minds as they truly are.
There is no false shame or prudery about
them. They speak as they think and feel.
Houlme apparently felt very much that
lovely midsummer night, and her heart was
breaking for something I could not well
make out. She drew me to her and kissed me.
''Glorious one, do you sufifer as I do?"
** I don't know how you suffer/' I answered.
She clasped her hands to her bosom. *' Oh !
I suffer as if my poor heart were on fire.
It is crying out for that other heart which,
but for my foolishness, would be near me
I did not care to ask anything for fear of
stopping her half-confession.
^'Houlme," I said instead, '* you are very
beautiful. I would give anything to be as
beautiful as you are."
^^ Why should you like to have my beauty,
beloved Hanoum? You said you did not
wish to be married; beauty is only good to a
woman to give to the man she loves; you
ought not to have any, and Allah ought to
have made you black."
I shuddered. On a night like this, every-
thing seemed possible, and I looked around
for the wicked ev-sahib who might change
''Foreign Hanoum," said Houlmd, "tell
me a little about the women of England.
Are they so beautiful that they can make
men forget their vows to other women?''
'^Some of them are very handsome/' I
answered, ''but not as beautiful as you
women of the East. To my mind you are the
only kind of women that could make men
forget their vows, and Mahomet knew what
he was about when he made his laws."
*' You are not right about our Prophet, be-
loved Hanoum, for he never meant women
to be kept apart from men ; but what you say
gladdens my poor heart — or are you speak-
ing thus because you have divined my sorrow
and wish to comfort me?"
''I know nothing about you, Houlme, ex-
cept what little you have told me to-night."
''Oh! glorious Hanoum, sometimes I
should like to feel as you women of other
lands feel, though I know it to be wicked to
wish to be different from what the great
Allah made me. But I am sorry I have been
brought up as a woman of the West."
" But you are not," I said. " You are less of
the West than any Mussulman girl I have met.
What makes you think that you are like us ? "
*' Because, young Hanoum, I was brought
up by foreigners. I speak English, French,
and German as well as I do my own lan-
guage, and I know more of your literatures
than I know of our own. The thoughts of
your great writers have made a great change
in my poor Eastern thoughts. You see,
young Hanoum, I was brought up by my ma-
ternal grandfather, who is a Turk of the new
school, which believes that women ought to
be educated to be the companions of men.
He brought me up with my cousin Murat,
to whom I was betrothed as soon as I was
born. He is only four years older than my-
self, but I shared his studies and his games
till I reached womanhood and had to take
tcharchaf. I was then fourteen. Of course
from that moment I did not see my cousin,
as I was living in the haremlik and he in the
selamlik. When I was eighteen my respect-
able grandfather called me to him and said
that the time had come for me to be the wife
of Murat Bey. As I said before, my grand-
father is of the new school and does not be-
lieve in forcing marriage upon women. He
asked me if I were ready ? I was ready — not
to marry, but to ask a favor.
'^ I must tell you, young Hanoum, that from
the day I took myself to the haremlik to be a
woman and not a child, I gave my limited
mind to the studies of your great writers.
From them I understood that there was a
greater love than the love based on affection,
and I wanted to make sure that Murat pre-
ferred me to other women. I asked, therefore,
my learned grandfather to send Murat for *
three years out in the world, in the different
capitals of Europe, in some diplomatic post.
If at the end of the three years Murat loved
me still, and thought me worthy to be his
wife, I would marry him. He has been for
a year in Vienna, then for a year in Paris,
and now he is in England. As was my
wish then, Murat never writes me — but he
sends me books and presents all the time.
Since he has gone I take one daily paper
from Paris, Vienna, Berlin, and London. I
also take several monthly periodicals, so that
my mind may be ready for my cousin when
he comes back to me. From what I read in
your papers, I do not like your world, and
I am glad that I am a Mahometan girl.
But I know also this, that it is wrong, wrong
for women to think."
*'It is a dangerous experiment," I said,
'*not for women to think, but to do what you
have done. You sent the man you love away
before he really knew you. If he had seen
you as a woman, I doubt whether all the
beauties of Europe could make him forget
you. On the other hand, it is hardly fair to
expect a youth to remember a child of four-
teen. Why don't you write to each other, in
order that at least he may know your mind ? "
'^ Because I do not wish him to be reminded
of me except by his own heart."
^^Houlme," I said, ''are you not rather
romantic ? What in the name of all flowers
made you do such idiotic things ? "
*'You don't understand me very much,
young Hanoum; that is why you think me
romantic. The day before I took tcharchaf,
Murat Bey took me to his father's grave and
there he promised me to remain faithful to
me all his life after he became my husband.
He vowed that I shall remain his only wife,
unless Allah did not send us boys. He gave
me then a dagger with a poisoned blade and
asked me to stab his heart if he ever was
untrue to me after our marriage. As I grew
older, and read much about life, I knew that
it was unfair to Murat Bey to tie him down
to such a great promise, unless I gave him a
chance to see the world and many women.''
" Does he know why he was sent abroad ? "
''Oh, yes! I wrote him a long letter and
explained to him my thoughts. At first he
did not like the idea, for he said he knew
that he loved me and wanted to be married
to me, but at last he consented."
" Suppose that he falls in love with another
woman and marries her, what will you do ? "
''I shall use the dagger for my own heart,"
she said simply.
To think that she would kill herself for an
idea ! For Murat could be no more than an
idea to her, she never really having known
him as a man. I looked at her and wondered
what things she might be capable of doing
when she should love a real man.
"Houlme," I asked, *^ suppose your cousin
came back and you married him, and after
a few years of marriage he wanted another
wife, as so many good Moslems do; would
you use your dagger?"
Her beautiful black eyes were wonderful
on that glorious Oriental night; they looked
like big stars, and as they met mine I had no
need of an answer.
At that moment a light breeze from the sea
passed, and in the stillness of the night we
heard the moving of the leaves and flowers.
*^They are awakening," said Houlme.
"The nightingale has reached their hearts.
You can hear the rose tremble on its stem.''
With the Eastern legend behind the notes
I could fancy the Bul-Bul implore the awak-
ening rose for a love that was never to be
Houlme was listening with all her heart in
her eyes. One would say in watching her
that she understood every syllable the lover
bird sang. The song of the nightingale rose
to a transcendent pathos and then abruptly
'*Poor little feathered lover," the young
Turkish girl murmured, ''you have been de-
nied a little love which would make your
singing immortal, and we shall hear you no
Houlmd Tr\a,de allusion to the Oriental
belief that on some such night as this the
nightingale's song, at its tenderest, most pas-
sionate note, does reach the heart of the rose,
and that if then the rose still denies him, he
dies. As the little body is never found, it is
believed that the other, silent nightingales
make his grave at the foot of the rose-bush.
Whether this thought brought graves to
the mind of my companion I don't know,
but of a sudden she was on her feet and an-
nounced to me that she was going to the little
cemetery to pray. There was no use arguing
with her, as I saw her mind was made up;
and in a few minutes, like two white phan-
toms, we were in the garden, where Houlmd
filled her arms with roses. Then she opened
a gate, ever so little, made in the thick wall,
and we were out in the open fields. She
walked along majestically, without the slight-
est misgiving of her misconduct, and in a
short while we were in the little cemetery.
Once there, she walked directly to one grave,
covered it with her flowers, threw herself on
it and prayed. To me, crouching under the
cemetery wall and imagining each tombstone
either a phantom or, worse yet, a human
form advancing toward us, it seemed as if she
prayed an eternity. At last she got up, turned
her tear-stained face to me, and asked me to
give a prayer for an unhappy woman.
On our way home I asked her if she knew
whose grave it was. Not till we found our-
selves again on our balcony did she speak.
^^That grave, dear blossom, is Chakendd
Hanoum's," she said.
^'Who was Chakende Hanoum?'' I asked.
Houlme looked at me incredulously.
'^You have been here so many days and
no one has told you Chakende Hanoum's
''No one," I answered, ''and I am glad,
for I would rather that you tell me her story
since you love her grave so."
The light sea-breeze became more auda-
cious every moment, and brought to our bal-
cony the perfumes of the thousands of flowers
growing beneath us, as Houlme began.
"Chakende Hanoum was the daughter of
Nazim Pasha. She was educated in the
Western fashion. She was as beautiful as an
houri and as good as Allah's own heart. She
was given as a wife to Djamal Pasha, a young
and dashing courtier. They were very much
in love with each other, and he promised her
that she should remain his first and only wife.
Their marital life was blessed with two boys
and one girl. Chakende grew more beautiful
as happiness became her daily portion.
**One day, when she was returning with
her retinue from a visit she had made in
Stamboul, on the bridge of Galata and in a
closed carriage, she saw her husband in com-
pany with a foreign woman. That night
when he came home, she questioned him,
and he only answered that the lady was a for-
eigner. Chakende Hanoum understood that
her husband did not wish to be asked any
more questions. Early in the morning, how-
ever, she sent for her brother, and from him
she learned what was generally known.
^^ She took a few of her slaves and went
to her country place. She stayed there for
several days, giving the situation her whole
thought; then she came back to her husband.
She told him that she knew the truth, that she
had thought the matter over, and had decided
to give him back his word, as to her remain-
ing his only wife. Thus he could marry the
foreign lady. It was then that Djamal Pasha
turned her from Allah. He laughed at her,
and said that Mademoiselle Roboul of the
French theatrical company was the kind of a
woman that men loved but did not marry.
Chakend^ Hanoum said nothing, but that
very same day went into her garden and
plucked roses from a laurel tree. You know,
young Hanoum, what you can do with those
roses ? "
A shiver ran down my back as I nodded.
*'A few nights later, when Djamal Pasha
was about to retire, Chakende Hanoum
prepared his sherbet for him. Her hand did
not tremble, though her face was white as
she handed it to him. It did not last long;
Djamal Pasha died from an unexplained
malady; but Chakende Hanoum kept on
plucking laurel roses daily. After a little
while they put her in her little grave, too, five
We sat silent for a while. The moon had
travelled fast and was now near the water,
bridging the Bosphorus with her moonglade.
The garden, the hills, and the water changed
with the changing slant of the rays, and be-
came more wondrously enchanting still,
though that had not seemed possible before,
and enthralled me with the fascination of the
East — the East whose language and ways
of dealing with right and wrong had been
alien to me for six years.
"It is wrong for women to think — it is
wrong, at least, for us women of the East."
It was Houlm^ Hanoum who spoke again.
*'They educate us and let us learn to think
as you women of the West think, but the
course of our lives is to be so different. Since
they let us share your studies they ought to
let us lead your lives, and if this cannot be
done, then they ought not to let us study and
know other ways but our own. If Chakend6
Hanoum were an Eastern woman in her
thoughts as she was in her heart, she would
have been with us now a happy woman, mak-
ing her motherless children happy, too."
''Houlme," I said, ''for some of you, Oc
cidental education is like strong wine to un-
accustomed people. It simply goes to your
heads. Look at Djimlah, your sister; she cer-
tainly is as educated as you are, but she could
never behave the way you or Chakende
''True,'' Houlme assented. "My sister is
educated as far as speaking European lan-
guages goes, but she has never been touched
by Occidental thought. To her, her husband
is her lord, the giver of her children. To me,
and to those who think as I do, a man must
be more. He must be to his wife what she is
to him, all in all. Is not this what the Occi-
dental love is? I did not use to think this
way till I read your books. I wish I had
never, never known. I do not like to hurt the
feelings of my venerable grandfather, for I
am the only child of his only daughter, as
Murat is the only child of his only son, and I
know that he did by me what he thought best.
Sometimes, however, I should like him to
know that with his new ideas he has made me
miserable by allowing me to acquire thoughts
not in accordance with our mode of living."
*^Houlme, if your cousin came back, and
you became his wife and had any daughters,
how would you bring them up?"
*^ I have thought of this very much indeed,"
was her answer, ^^and I should like to talk it
over with Murat when he becomes my hus-
band. I do not think Turkish parents have
any right to experiment with their children.
I should not like to give to my daughters this
burden of unrest. I should like to bring them
up as true Osmanli women."
*'Then you disapprove of the modern sys-
tem of education that is creeping into the
harems ? Were you to be free to see men and
choose your husbands, would you still disap-
**Yes. It took you many generations to
come to where you are. Back of you there
are hundreds of grandmothers who led your
life and worked for what you have to-day.
With us it is dififerent: we shall be the first
grandmothers of the new thought, and we
ought to have it come to us slowly and
through our own efiforts. Mussulman women,
with the help of Mahomet, ought to work out
their own salvation, and borrow nothing from
the West. We are a race apart, with different
traditions and associations."
"Is this the thought of the educated wo-
men of the harems to-day?" I asked.
Houlm^^s face saddened as she said: —
**No, young Hanoum, I am alone in this
thought as far as I can make out. The others
say that we must immediately be given free-
dom and liberty to do as we like with our-
selves. Indeed, they look upon me with mis-
trust as if I were a traitor."
'' Have they any definite plans of what they
want to do?"
'^I doubt whether you would call them
definite plans, but I should like very much to
have you come with me to our next meeting,
which will be in two days. There are forty
of them now and I think that they will do
more harm than good, as they are going about
it in a very irrational way. Their motto is,
'Down with the Old Ideas.' Naturally they
refuse to obey their parents and their hus-
*'How old are they, on the average?"
**The youngest of them all is seventeen and
the oldest forty. They are all unmarried,
with the exception of five who have left their
''You are not in sympathy with their move-
ment though you belong to it?"
"No, young Hanoum, for I am afraid that
it is more romanticism that guides them than
thought for our beloved country. I call them
to myself, 'Les Romanesques des Harems,'
though they call themselves 'Les Louises
"Goodness gracious!" I exclaimed,
"Louise Michel was an anarchist!''
" So are they," said Houlme; "and because
I tell them that through anarchy we can do
nothing, they will not hear me."
I told her that I should certainly be glad to
go with her to the meeting of the reformers,
and she promised to take me soon.
We did not go inside the house that night-
Bringing some pillows and rugs out on the
balcony, we slept there until the morning
light drove us in.
SUFFRAGETTES OF THE HAREM
Asleep, I gradually became conscious of a
low murmuring song, and opened my eyes to
meet those of my little slave Kondje.
*'May the day be a happy one to you,
glorious Hanoum," she said when her eyes
^^Is it late?" I asked.
*'The magnificent sun has been at his
pleasure-giving task for some time now. My
mistress's sister gave me orders not to let the
daylight make you heavy with sleep; for you
are going out with her before the heat begins.
That is why I have been coaxing your spirit
back to your body with my song."
'^Did you have to coax it long?" I asked,
smiling at the Oriental superstition against
awakening any one suddenly. They believe
that the soul leaves the body during sleep,
and wanders in other lands.
^^ Yes, young Hanoum. It must have gone
far away from here, and where the flowers
blossom their prettiest; for a pleasant smile
was on your lips. Now your body and spirit
are together again, and here is your coffee
while I go to make ready your bath."
I looked at my watch. It was a quarter to
six. In harems one goes to bed early and
wakes up early again. Perhaps this is the
secret of the beauty of the Eastern women.
As I was sipping my coffee, I remembered
that to-day I was to go with Houlme Hanoum
to the meeting of advanced Turkish women.
My coffee finished, and my bath and my
toilet, I went to the window to look at the
east in its morning glory. A heavy rain had
fallen in the night, and the beflowered na-
ture that met my eyes was a very clean and
fresh one. It looked like a Turkish Hanoum
coming from her morning bath. And this
loveliness alone was left from the rain: the
thirsty earth had drunk every drop of the
As I looked through the latticed window,
my eyes roamed first down to the gay Bos-
phorus plashing at the feet of the fairylike
dwellings along its banks; then to the co-
quettish hills bathed in the morning glow.
From the farther view my glance came back
to our garden, to be surprised by the sight of
two young Turks walking about among the
flowers, in that portion allotted to the men.
Then I remembered that Selim Pasha had
brought a number of guests with him the
night before. As I was looking at the two
Turks my surprise became delight on recog-
nizing in one of them a friend of my child-
hood, of whom I had been very fond.
I clapped my hands, and Kondje came
''Please go down and see if the Valid^
Hanoum is up yet," I said; ''and if she is, ask
her if she could receive me."
In a few minutes the slave returned to tell
me that the Vah'de was about to partake of
her morning meal, and would consider it an
honor if I would join her.
I rushed down to her. ^^ Good-morning to
you, Valide Hanoum," I cried, and plunged
at once into the reason for my visit, without
those flattering and ceremonious approaches
that would have been fitting. ^' You need not
grant me what I am going to ask of you, but I
should like you very much to grant it."
*' Good-morning to you, first rose of a
young rosebush," she answered, un vexed by
my lack of politeness. ''And I shall grant
you what you wish, provided that it comes
under my jurisdiction. If it does not we shall
have to apply to our just master, Selim
Pasha, who is again back among us."
I pointed out of the window at the young
men walking in the garden. ''I want to go
and speak to them," I said.
''What?" She threw back her lovely head
and laughed her fresh, happy laugh.
"You dear, dear yavroum! You are al-
ready tired of us women-folk, and want to go
and talk with the men."
^^Not a bit," I protested. ''1 would gladly
give up the society of ten men for yours,
Valide Hanoum ; but one of those young fel-
lows is Halil Bey, with whom I used to play
when I was a child. Do, please, say that I
may go and speak to him!"
^'Nay, nay, little pearl, you must not speak
to him. He is to be married in two weeks,
and I cannot allow any temptation in his
way. I might change my mind, however,
after we have partaken of some nourishment.
You know, yavroum, a hungry person sees
the world all awry."
As she spoke the slaves were bringing in
freshly picked fruit from the orchard, on
brass trays on their heads. A small slave also
carried a basket charmingly arranged with
vine leaves and grapes from the house vine-
yards — and nowhere on earth do grapes
taste as good as those of Constantinople.
All the different fruits were arranged on
their own leaves on low tables inlaid with
mother-of-pearl, and we ate them without the
use of knives. Then one slave brought in a
graceful brass basin, while another presented
the soap and poured out water for us from a
slender brass water-jug. A third handed us
embroidered Turkish towels to dry our
hands on. Meanwhile, an old slave came in
with a brazier, sat down in the middle of the
room, and cooked the coffee, while the two
young slaves passed the delicious beverage
to us with toast and cakes. This was all our
breakfast. At its close the Valide turned to
the old slave and asked : —
''Nadji, what do you suppose this young
Hanoum wants to do?"
The old slave looked at me with her kind,
motherly eyes. ''The young Hanoum has
good taste. I suppose she wants to marry
one of our men and be one of us. Indeed
Allah, the great and only God, be my wit-
ness, but since she has been with us she looks
prettier and healthier.''
The Valide and I shrieked with laughter.
*'No, Nadji, the young Hanoum has not
yet come to such a grave resolution. She
wants to go and talk with those two young
men walking in the garden."
The slave left her embers, walked to the
window, and looked critically at the two men.
*^Mashallah!" she cried, smacking her lips,
*^but they are two worthy young specimens.
The young Hanoum will want to stay among
us more than ever."
"Nadji, would you then let her go?"
"It is not for me to decide, but for you,
honored head of a most honored household."
*'But would it be right, Nadji, to let her go
talk to them?"
Nadji looked me straight in the eyes as if
to ascertain whether I were worthy.
"She talks to men when she is at home,
my beloved mistress."
"Yes," smiled the Valide, "she does.
But you know, Nadji, the young Hanoum
particularly wishes to talk to Halil Bey, who
is to be married in two weeks' time. " The
Valide's smile was full of mischief.
Nadji examined me again. ^^It does not
matter, my Valide. Halil Bey's mind is
filled with the thought of one woman, who
is to be his, and whom he has not seen.
His fancy is clothing her with wondrous
beauty, and no real person can do any harm.
Allah is wise as wxll as great." Her gray
head was bowed low at Allah's name.
*'I am glad you approve, Nadji; for this
young Hanoum here so pleases my fancy that
I am likely to spoil her." She turned to me:
*'Run along, yavroum, only be sure to put
on your wooden sandals, for there might be
some chill left in the earth after the rain. I
will notify the young men of the honor you
are about to bestow upon them."
A few minutes later I was by the side of
the astonished Halil Bey, who, if he ever
thought of me, thought of me as in the wilds
of America. In his gladness at seeing me
again he picked me up, kissed me on both
cheeks, and set me down on the bench, to
pour into my ears the wonders of the beauty
of his unknown bride to be.
*'But suppose," I suggested to him, when
his enthusiasm at length gave me an oppor-
tunity to put in an objection, ^'suppose when
you raise the veil, instead of seeing a beau-
tiful young girl with a slim figure, as you
picture her to yourself, you meet a fat, ugly
woman, what will you do?"
He laughed at the idea. '^But I have seen
her in the street and she is slim. And I
know she is pretty — my heart tells me so."
Lovers seem to be the same everywhere,
even though they are Turkish lovers, sup-
posed by us to be devoid of romantic rap-
tures; and though I stayed some time with
Halil Bey, we talked of nothing except the
girl who was to become his first and — as he
vowed — his only wife.
When I returned to the house several of
its inmates shook their fingers at me and
sang in chorus, '^I saw you!" But the
Valide put a protecting arm around me, and
— looking around for the effect it would pro-
duce — impressively gave me this invitation :
'* Yavroum, Selim Pasha wishes me to beg
of you to do him the honor to dine to-night
with him and his guests."
It was my turn to shake my fingers at
the Turkish women, as I challenged them:
''Those who do not admit that they would
give anything to be in my wooden sandals,
let them raise their hands ! "
Not a hand was raised, though they might
have debated the point further, had not
Houlme run her arm through mine and in-
terrupted with: ''Young Hanoum, the sun
does not favor those who travel many hours
after he has started his journey. Let us
start. We have a long way before us, and
the day I know will prove interesting."
In my room I was surprised to find a new
tchitcharf of silver-gray silk. "What is this
for?" I asked Houlme.
"You cannot go to the meeting unless
you have this color on. It is the emblem of
dawn, the dawn we are about to bring to the
Turkish women's life."
A few minutes later Houlme and I, in com-
pany with an old slave inside the carriage
with us, and an old eunuch, who was the
shadow of Houlme, sitting on the box by the
coachman, were driving to Hanoum Zeybah's
house, where the meeting was to be held.
It was half-past ten o'clock when we reached
there, and we were the last to arrive. Inside
the door stood two gray phantoms, to whom
we gave the password, ^'Twilight."
In a large hall stood the rest of the gray
symbols of dawn, all so closely veiled as to
be unrecognizable. Without a sound they
saluted us in the Turkish fashion; and then
we were all conducted to a large room. It
was very mysterious and conspirator-like.
The nine windows of the room were tightly
shuttered, that no ray of unromantic sun-
light should fall upon the forerunners of a
new epoch. We all sat crosslegged and mo-
tionless on a bare settee which ran around
two sides of the room. Over our heads hung
a banner of sky-blue silk, embroidered in
silver with ''Freedom for Women !^^ Beneath
that hung another of black, bearing the
words ''Down with the Old Ideas T^ in fiery-
red. There were no chairs. The beautiful
oak floor was partially covered with Eastern
rugs, and on some fat cushions in the middle
of the room sat our hostess, the originator
and president of the society.
President Zeybah clapped her hands three
times and announced that the meeting was
about to begin. It did begin, and continued
for more than an hour.
The president produced a manuscript with
gilt edges from a European satchel at her
side, and read her contribution to the club.
*' Women, fellow - sufferers, and fellow-
workers," she read ^^we come here to-day to
dig a little farther into the thick wall which
the tyranny of man has built about us. By
nature woman was meant to be the ruler.
By her intuition, her sympathy, her unself-
ishness, her maternal instinct, she is the
greatest of the earth. One thing alone brute
nature gave to man — strength ! Through
that he has subjugated woman. Let us rise
and break our bonds! Let us stand up en
masse and defy the brute who now domi-
nates us! We are the givers of life; we must
be the rulers and lawmakers as well. Down
In this strain, and in a deep voice befitting
a ruler and a lawmaker, the president read
from her gilt-edged paper, and ended up
with the proposition that six members of the
club should be chosen by lot to kill them-
selves, as a protest against the existing order
of things. The proposition, which was made
in all seriousness, provided, however, — with
a naivete that might have imperilled the
gravity of a meeting of American women, —
that the president of the club should be ex-
empt from participation in the lot-draw-
This plan for making tyrant man sit up
and take notice was received with a murmur
from the veiled listeners, rather more of ap-
proval than of disapproval. The question,
however, was not discussed further at the
moment, and the president called on another
lady to read her paper.
The first speaker having proved that wo-
men were great and were only kept from
recognition by the brute force of man, the
second one went ahead to prove that women
were capable of doing as good work as men
in certain cases, by citing George Sand,
George Eliot, and others. A third one as-
serted that women were mere playthings in
the hands of men, and called on them to
rouse themselves and show that they were
capable of being something better.
I was utterly disgusted at the whole meet-
ing. I might just as well have been in one
of those silly clubs in New York where
women congregate to read their immature
compositions. There were totally lacking the
sincerity, the spontaneity, and the frankness
which usually characterize Turkish women.
When the meeting adjourned, we passed
into several dressing-rooms, where the veiled
and secret conspirators against the dominion
of man all kept luncheon gowns. When the
assemblage came together again, the majority
of them were corseted and in Paris frocks,
and all were quite unveiled, the mystery of
the meeting having been mere pretense and
affectation. These forty-odd women, rang-
ing in age from seventeen to forty, were
drawn from the flower of the Turkish aris-
tocracy. Luncheon was served in a large
room overlooking the Golden Horn. We
were seated at four round tables, and during
the meal the great cause was forgotten, and
they were again spontaneous Turkish wo-
After luncheon we passed into the reclin-
ing room, where Eastern dances and music
were given for our pleasure. I was happy
to notice that as we lay about on the couches,
the Parisian-gowned ladies were distinctly
less comfortable than the rest of us. After
the music was over, the heavy conversation
was started again by our hostess, who was
never happy for long unless she considered
that she was shining intellectually. She was
not yet thirty, but had found time already
to divorce two husbands.
^^What I like most about American wo-
men," she said to me and to her disciples, ''is
the courage they have in discarding their
husbands. Why should a woman continue
to live with a man whom she finds to be not
her intellectual companion ? " Her pose was
fine, as she uttered these words, and mur-
murs of appreciation arose among her hearers.
''Few men are women's companions in-
tellectually," I said, having listened to as
much as I could without replying "The
only men who are the companions of intel-
lectual women are half-baked poets, sopho-
mores, and degenerates. Normal men, nice
men, intelligent men, never talk the tomfool-
ery women want to talk about. They are
too busy with things worth while to sit down
and ponder over the gyrations of their souls.
In fact, they don't have to worry over their
souls at all. They are strong and healthy,
and live their useful lives without taking time
to store their heads with all the nonsense
Those forty women breathed heavily. To
them I represented freedom and intellect-
ual advancement, and here I was smashing
their ideals unmercifully. I pretended not
to notice the efifect of my words, and con-
tinued : —
**If you expect real men of any nationality
to sit down and talk to you about your souls,
you will find them disappointing. As for
American women, they are as different from
you as a dog from a bird. Whatever they do
cannot affect you. They are a different stock
altogether. Will you tell me what you are
working for specifically?"
''Freedom to chose our husbands, and
freedom to go about with men as we like,"
the president answered.
''We want to go about the world unchap-
eroned and free — to travel all over the world
if we choose," another answered.
The last speaker was a girl barely eight-
een years old, and beautiful with a beauty
the East alone can produce. I laughed
"My dear child," I said, ''you could not
go alone for half a day without having all
sorts of things happening to you."
"But that is just what I want," she re-
torted. "I am tired of my humdrum life,
when such delicious things as one reads of
in books might be happening to me."
This girl in her youth and simplicity was
really revealing the cause of their malady.
They were all fed on French novels.
"Even American women, when they are
young, do not go about with men unchap-
eroned as you think," I said, "nor do they
travel alone with men, at any age. Of course
there are American women who are com-
pelled to go about alone a good deal, because
they are earning their own living; but they
only do this because they have to. As to
what Zeybah Hanoum said about their di-
vorcing their husbands frequently, I am
afraid she is looking at American civilization
from the seamy side. I do not deny that
there are American women who have parted
with decency, and whom one divorce more
or less does not affect; but the really nice
American women have as much horror of
divorce as any well-bred European woman."
Zeybah Hanoum here interrupted me. ^^I
beg your pardon, but I have read in the
American papers that a woman may divorce
her husband in the morning, and marry
again in the afternoon. Also, that no other
reason for divorce is required than that she
does not wish to continue to live with him.
It is called 'incompatibility of temper.' I
believe" — here the learned lady threw back
her head, and turned to the rest of her audi-
ence — ^' that a nation that has such laws has
them not for those who have parted with
decency, but for the nice women, in order to
help them to rid themselves of undesirable
husbands. I hear that the courts proclaim
that a woman may not only get rid of her
husband, but that the husband shall continue
to support her. Can you tell me after that
that America does not uphold divorce?"
I was rather staggered by her argument,
although I knew that fundamentally she was
^^What you say is true, in a way," I ad-
mitted; ^^but the fact remains that nice
American women do not believe in indis-
'' Oh, well, there are always backward wo-
men in every country. I was told by an
American lady, once, that not to be divorced
nowadays was the exception. And wait till
the women have the power to vote. That is
the one thing the American men are afraid
to grant women, because they know that
then women will make laws to suit them-
I did not ask Zeybah Hanoum how much
farther women could go, with the ballot, than
she thought they already had gone, in the
home of the free. I was very sorry for the
women who were under her influence, be-
cause most of them were young and all of
them inexperienced, so I took up another side
of the subject.
^^ Let's leave American women alone then,
since you will only believe the yellow journal-
ism, and come to your own affairs. Do you
really think that by having six women kill
themselves you will accomplish anything?"
*' At any rate, we shall teach men a lesson."
^^And that is?"
"That we are capable of going to any
lengths to get what we want. Woman is a
"But do you think you can bring about
what you want by violent methods? There
are a great many among your men who be-
lieve that women should be free to choose
their husbands, and to educate themselves
as they like. So far you have been given
privileges in studying music and art. Little
by little other things will come. But remem-
ber, that to one woman who thinks as you do
there are a hundred who don't.''
'^They are blind, and we wish to open their
eyes. It is our duty — in the name of hu-
manity. We owe this to the Progress of the
World," Zeybah announced oratorically.
*^ Since you have descended to Duty," I
said with some heat, ^^I suppose you are
capable of anything cruel and unkind."
At this point a lady — a visitor, like me —
who was an instructress in a girls' seminary,
though she was the daughter of a rich man,
quietly put in: '^Zeybah Hanoum, I should
like to hear the lady tell us how she thinks it
would be wise to proceed. She knows our
ways, what privileges we now have, and our
*'Yes, yes," several voices cried.
*^ Since you do not like your system, — al-
though it seems to me admirable on the
whole, — it is only right that you should be
allowed to live your lives as you want to.
Only you must go about it in a sensible way,
and take into consideration the others who
are involved in it. For example, I should
think that you ought to tear down that ban-
ner of ' Down with the Old Ideas ! ' and put
up another, reading: * Respect for the Old
Ideas, Freedom to the New ! ' Then, instead
of closeting yourselves together and behaving
like imitation French Anarchists, you ought
to have your meetings in the open. Since you
all wear your veils, you can invite the men
who are sympathetic to your movement, to
take an interest in it. Little by little, more
men will come, and also more women.
Really, your troubles are not so serious as
those of European women, because under
the laws of the Koran women have many
privileges unheard of in other countries. The
Mussulman system is very socialistic. What
you want is to be free to mingle with men.
Since you want it, you had better have it,
though you are overrating the privilege.
There is a great deal of poetry and a great
deal of charm in your system; but if you
don't like it, you don't like it. You will all
be mothers some day ; bring up your sons in
the new thought, and thus gradually you will
bring about the change."
^^But you are spoiling our society," the
president cried. ''What is the object of it if
not to push things along fast?"
*'I do not agree with you," the quiet lady
said. '' I believe in what the foreign Hanoum
has just said. We ought to go about this in a
'' Do I understand that you do not approve
of our association?" the president asked,
''Not in the least; but I do not believe in
the bloody demonstration you proposed."
Thereupon arose a discussion which lasted
the whole afternoon. The president was
vehemently in favor of her plan for having
six of the members kill themselves. Most of
the others, however, encouraged by the
moral support they received from me and
from the quiet lady, finally admitted that
they did not wish to die. Yet that they would
unhesitatingly have committed suicide, had
the club decided on the plan, and had the lot
fallen to them, I have not the slightest doubt,
knowing the nature of Turkish women as
Just as the meeting was breaking up I was
very much surprised to have Houlme come
to me and ask me if I should like to meet the
young woman whom Halil Bey was to marry
in two weeks. I had had no inkling that she
was at the meeting, or even that she held ad-
vanced views. Naturally I was most anxious
to know her, and as it happened that we were
going a good part of the way home in the
same direction, she invited me to drive with
her in her brougham until we came to the
parting of the ways. She was a very pretty
brunette, with large violet eyes, and such a
lovely, kissable mouth — but what a pri-
*^I suppose you are very busy over your
coming marriage," I said to her.
**My marriage interests me very little,
mademoiselle,'' she replied coldly. **In fact,
I think of it as little as possible. It is not a
love-match, you know, but an arranged af-
'' But your future husband is young, hand-
some, and a well-educated nobleman. I feel
certain that you will find in him your ideal."
''Indeed!" she snapped. ''So you think
that all a man has to have, to be acceptable
to a young woman, is youth, good looks, and
"A beautiful mind," she said, as pom-
pously as Zeybah Hanoum herself might have
spoken. "I wish my husband to understand
the world of Kant and Schopenhauer and all
the great thinkers. I wish him to treat me
as if I, too, had a mind capable of soaring
above the sordid conditions of our daily life.
Do you think, when I am married, that I am
likely to find in Halil Bey a man to speak to
me on these subjects? No! he will tell me that
I am beautiful, and that he loves me. As if
his paltry love mattered in this great world."
"I should think it would matter to him,
and to you."
^^ Excuse me, mademoiselle, but are you
not taking rather a commonplace view of
*' Perhaps I am. But I might learn to ap-
preciate a high-minded one if it were ex-
plained to me."
"I should like a husband who would forget
his petty personality, and me as well; who
would realize that the greatest love of all is
intellectual companionship. The other kind
of love is good enough for the inferior class of
people, whose only participation in the great
world is their part in the perpetuation of the
''How do you know that your future hus-
band is not animated by the same noble ideas
as you are?" I asked, though I had no such
''Quite impossible! Our men are incapa-
ble of appreciating such high ideals of life,
since they allow their women so little free-
By the time I parted from Halil Bey's
fiancee I was so filled up with high ideals that
if Houlm^ Hanoum had talked any more in
the same line I should have gone mad. " Poor
Halil Bey!" I kept thinking to myself.
Once home I had to rush to my room to
get ready to dine with the men. The Valide
" Yavrouniy what will you wear to-night?"
"Dear me! I have not had time to think
of that. I have not a dinner gown with me.
I suppose a little white lawn will have to
"I have thought all about it, and I have
several gowns for you to choose from. As
soon as your bath has been given to you,
come to me.''
In her apartment I found a bevy of women
all anxious to help in my attiring. Of all the
beautiful clothes displayed the choice fell on
a lovely brocade which the Valide had worn
in years gone by. With the help of the wives
and several of their slaves, and with jewelry
enough to start a goldsmith's shop, I was
made ready for the extraordinary occasion.
When they were through with me I looked as
if I were for sale, and said so.
*^I do hope, yavroum,^^ the Valide said
piously, ''that you will find your master
^^ Allah bayouk!^^ murmured several wo-
men, with bowed heads.
The Valide conducted me to the mabeyn,
or dividing line between the haremlik and
selamlik, where Selim Pasha himself was
waiting for me, arrayed in his uniform. The
rest of the guests were in European clothes,
and after the introductions were over, I told
them that a few of them at least would have
to approach the Valide for my hand, other-
wise she might fear that she had not done all
in her power to make me charming.
The dinner was a very interesting one; in-
deed, I believe it was the most interesting one
I have ever been to. Contrary to the opinion
of most people who do not know them, the
Turks are very attractive men. They are
frank, chivalrous, and above all, considerate
to women. They also possess a keen sense of
humor, and enjoy a joke even at their own
expense. They are good talkers, and pretty
Though it was after eleven o'clock when I
returned to the haremlik, all the ladies and
slaves were sitting up to see me return from
the remarkable adventure of dining with a
'*Well, yavroum?^^ the Valide said.
''Oh! I think some of them will ask you
for my hand. Don't you worry, Valide."
She was beaming with happiness.
"And Valide," I said, after a little more
talk, ''not to trouble you again, I asked Selim
Pasha if I might speak to Halil Bey again to-
morrow morning' in the garden, and he gave
me permission. And since my engagement
with him is at half-past eight, I think I will
wish you good-night."
The next morning, though I was on time
in the garden, I found Halil Bey already
there, and very impatient to hear all about
''Tell me," he cried out, as soon as we had
shaken hands, "is she beautiful?"
"Very," I answered; "but, my poor boy,
she is crazy over Kant and Schopenhauer."
"Who are they?" he bellowed, thunder
in his voice and fire in his eyes. "Tell me
quick, and I will draw every drop of blood
from their veins."
"I have no doubt that in a fist-to-fist en-
counter you would have the best of them, but
they are both dead and gone, and only their
miserable books are left to fight against."
^'Oh!" he laughed, ^Ms that all? I think
I can take care of that."
It was my turn to laugh. ''Halil Bey, you
have read Xyrano de Bergerac'?"
'^ You remember what Christian answered
when Cyrano was trying to coach him: *Et
par tous les diables, je saurais toujours la
prendre entre mes bras.^ It did not work
however. Now, if you want to be happy,
listen to me! Devote your time from now
till your marriage-day to those two writers.
Memorize as much of them as you can.
When your bride comes home, and you raise
her veil and see her face, be a Spartan.
Don't make love to her; don't tell her that
she is beautiful. Just talk Kant, recite Scho-
penhauer, and give her every kind of tom-
foolery about your soul that you can think
of, provided it sounds highfaluting enough.
Buy all the works of Maeterlinck and make
her read them to you till she is ready to drop.
Tell her that she is to remain for you the ideal
companion, the complement of your soul,
and any other silly thing that comes into
your head. She will help you along; for she
has all that at the tip of her tongue. Before
a month is over, she will be sick of it and
crazy for you. Then fire ahead and make
love to her as much as you want to."
Halil Bey looked anything but enthusiastic
over the course I had mapped out for him;
so I had to repeat most of the conversation
I had had with his unknown lady-love.
**I am going to Russia soon,'' I ended. ''I
shall be back in about six weeks. Come to
my hotel then and tell me all about it."
To leave Selim Pasha's household for a
minute: other events more important to me
had quite driven Halil Bey and his fiancee
from my mind before I returned from Russia.
I was getting ready to sail for America when
Halil Bey came to see me.
'* Hallo, Boy!" I said. '^How is the
"She is dead!" he answered simply.
I stared at him. ^^Halil! you have not
"Not I, but Kant and the other fellow did.
And now hurry up ; I want you to come and
see my little wife. She is waiting for you."
In less than an hour our carriage brought
us to Halil Bey's residence, where a very
charming hostess was waiting. She threw
her arms around my neck and kissed me.
"Mademoiselle, I think you are a happi-
"And don't you think that his love and
your love matter a little in this world?"
"It is the only thing that does matter,"
she answered, while her violet eyes were
looking, not at me but at Halil Bey.
But to return to the Suffragettes. The most
noticeable thing about them was that they
were attracted only by the worst features of
our Western civilization. It was my opin-
ion at that time — although recent political
events do not seem to have borne me out —
that Turkey would be better off without any
influx of European thought.
That the Turks gain nothing from the
missionaries we send them is still my firm
belief. To begin with, we send them men
who are ignorant of the history of Turkey,
as of the nature of the Turk, men who are
narrow and bigoted. Two of these mission-
aries, who had for three years been in Asia
Minor, came home in the same steamer with
me. They were of different sects, and were
not on speaking terms with each other.
I was talking with one of them, and found
that he hated the Turks as heartily as the
Master whose gospel he had gone out to
teach commanded us to love one another.
There was nothing too bad for him to say
about their morals and their religion. I
asked him if he understood Turkish.
'^No, indeed, I do not. I find their lan-
guage very much like the people."
How did he manage to talk with the Turks ?
*^I had an interpreter, an Armenian who
was a convert of mine," he explained com-
^' What was he before you converted him ? "
I asked, amused. The man was too small to
be angry with.
*^He was an Armenian, naturally," he an-
''I thought Armenians were Christians,"
*'0h, well, their Christianity does not
amount to much. We have to teach them the
real meaning of the Saviour's words."
*^ Brotherly love and tolerance?" I in-
quired, thinking of the other missionary
aboard. I received no reply to this, and
presently asked: ''Did you get to know
''No. They avoided us as if we went there
to do them harm. I knew some fishermen
and vendors. I only hope that the example
of our cleanly lives will help some of them;
for we can never preach to them: they will
not come to hear us. I shall write a book on
Turkey as soon as I am rested.''
He was a fair average specimen of the
class of men who go to Turkey to educate
and uplift her. With few exceptions these
missionaries are even ignorant of the fact
that Turkey is a country with a great past,
and with a literature of its own comparable
to that of Greece.
The most discouraging thing about Turkey
is that, while the old-fashioned Turk is a
man on whose integrity you may depend,
as soon as a Turk becomes Europeanized
he loses his own good qualities, without ob-
taining those of the West — exactly as the
American Indian does. He is so vitally dif-
ferent from us, and his mind is so naif and
unspoiled, that the result of contact with our
sophisticated thought is very harmful. I
agree with Houlme that Turkey ought to
work out her own salvation. When she does,
I do not believe that she will be found be-
hind any Christian state, on account of the
cardinal virtues which the Turkish race pos-
sesses. Her rehgion has as sublime thoughts
as ours. That it has kept the race practically
abstainers from drink for nearly twenty
centuries testifies to its strength.
In my enthusiasm for Turkey I do not
wish to be understood as implying that Tur-
key is perfect, or that all her customs are
beyond reproach, or that the Turks do not
need ** elevating." On the contrary, there
are many things about them which to me are
hateful, and which I cannot reconcile with
their good qualities. One incident which I
witnessed in Selim Pasha's household, just
before I left it, makes me shudder even now
when I happen to think of it. It concerned
the pasha's eldest son and his wife, for whose
arrival I had been invited to remain a few
THE LOVE OF NOR-SEMBAH AND
On the day of their arrival we rose earlier
than usual to help decorate the house. Roses
and lilacs in great quantities were sent in by
numerous households of the vicinity. The
old family brocades were thrown over the
chairs. Silk rugs were gracing the balus-
trades and bannisters. Big branches of
leaves decorated the walls of the vestibule,
while pots of gay flowers placed on either
side of the staircase added to the generally
festive appearance of the house. Also, all the
members of the household, from the Valide
to the most insignificant slave, were dressed
in gala costume.
Immediately after the midday meal, and in
spite of the heat, while Selim Pasha's other
two wives and I, with their slaves, were drink-
ing cooling drinks, dressed in the thinnest of
garments, the Valide and Djimlah and sev-
eral of their slaves took their seats in the large
springless carriage, made comfortable with
soft cushions, and went to meet the expected
members of the family.
A few hours later the young wife was
brought to the house, not in the springless
wagon, nor yet in a brougham, but in a sedan
chair. The surprise I felt at this was greatly
increased by the sight of the young man
whom I rightly took to be her husband, walk-
ing in the heat by the side of her chair, bare-
headed, his fez in his hand, almost as if he
were following the dead. I had known that
the young wife was ill, but the festive air of
the household had deceived me, even though
I knew the Turkish custom of putting on their
gayest attire at the death of their dear ones.
Yet on the countenance of this fezless youth
there could be no dissimulation of his sorrow.
Though we were all quite anxious to see
the young wife, whose beauty was renowned,
we had to be content with the announcement
that she would see some of us on the morrow.
That evening, when I went into Djimlah's
apartment, I found her nursing the young
baby of Nor-Sembah Hanoum, and heard
her murmuring these words: "You poor
little fading blossom, you dear bedraggled
lamb, they even forget you, do they ? I will
be mother to you, little blossom of Allah."
I sat quietly waiting till the slave should
come to take away the baby, after it should
be fed, knowing the superstition Turkish wo-
men have about being distracted when they
are performing this duty of motherhood.
''Djimlah," I asked, when she was at lib-
erty to talk to me, *^why were you nursing
that baby? Is the mother very ill indeed?"
"111!" Djimlah cried; "she is dying. He
is killing her."
"Who is killing her?" I asked.
Djimlah's big blue eyes looked at me in
surprise and wonder. "Did not the Validd
''Then I must tell you everything from the
beginning so that you may understand it
right. Hakif Bey — that is the Valide's son —
met Nor-Sembah when she was visiting the
Valide, who is a distant relative of her mo-
ther's. At that time, although she was four-
teen and had already taken Icharchaf, which
made her a woman, she was so frail and child-
like that one was apt to regard her as not
grown up. Besides, Hakif Bey had always
been absolutely indifferent to women, and
no one thought any harm could happen if he
came into his mother's apartments, as he had
always been in the habit of doing. He was
devoted to the Valide, and his greatest plea-
sure was to spend an hour reading to her or
talking with her. In these meetings he met
Nor-Sembah and fell so violently in love with
her that the Valide had to keep the child day
and night by her side, for fear of his stealing
her and making her his own. It was a very
difficult task, since Nor-Sembah was also
in love with Hakif and quite hard to man-
''But why didn't they marry?" I asked.
''Was Hakif too young?"
"No, indeed; he was seventeen. The ob-
jection was Nor-Sembah's delicate health.
She had inherited weak lungs from her fam-
ily, and her mother and the Valide did not
think it wise to let her marry so young. They
managed to send Hakif away to Asia Minor
in an important position, — for Hakif is very
clever and very learned, — and promised
him that at the end of a year he could have
his bride. I think what kept him quiet for
the year was not so much that his position
demanded all his attention, — though he
acquitted himself brilliantly and the Sultan
praised him very much, — as the feverish
preparations he made to have a home for
his bride. He had a lovely mansion built,
with a bath-house as pretty as that of his
mother's. He not only furnished the house,
but sent to Circassia and bought beautiful
slaves and dancing girls. Being the first son,
Selim Pasha gave him a handsome allow-
ance, besides what he made as governor. So
fervently did he work that at the end of the
year everything was ready. Meanwhile the
Valid^ and Nor-Sembah's mother did all they
could to make the girl strong. But she was
always the same, and the doctor said that, in
addition to her illness, the child was lovesick;
so when, at the end of the year, Hakif was
here claiming her, they married them. You
ought to have seen him when he arrived. He
was like a hungry wolf. They could hardly
keep him out of the haremlik.
^* Many months passed after they married
and went to Asia Minor, but not a word was
heard from them; and finally Selim Pasha
himself went there to find out what was hap-
pening. When he came back, he said —
though he does not give his opinions often —
that * the children were loving each other too
much to think of Allah or parents.' You
know, yavroum, it is not right that mortals
should love so fiercely. Evil spirits get jeal-
ous and cast the evil eye.'' Thus said Djim-
lah, educated in Western literature, yet in her
heart as Eastern as any. *'If he had loved
her less she might have found strength in his
love, instead of death. When word came
that Nor-Sembah was blessed with Allah's
greetings and was about to be a mother, there
were tears and cries in two households; for
the doctor had said that a child would mean
death to the frail mother. Nor-Sembah's
father was wild, because she was his only
daughter, and he loved her as one loves the
blood of one's veins. He stormed and raged
and insisted that Nor-Sembah be brought
right back to him. But that was impossible,
since Nor-Sembah could not be moved ; and
besides, for nothing in the world would Hakif
allow any one to be near her. Zafar Pasha
— that is her father — took the doctors that
Hakif had sent to Constantinople for and went
with them to Asia, and insisted that after the
child was born she should be brought here.
'* Young people are crazy!" Djimlah, of
twenty-four years' experience, interrupted
her story to exclaim with scornful emphasis.
'^Do you know that both Nor-Sembah and
Hakif grudge every minute they give to any
one except each other? She does not even
look at her child. One would say that the
glorious sun rises and sets in Hakif Bey."
" But would it not have been better for the
girl to have stayed at home, since she had
good medical treatment?" I asked.
'' It might, if they could have been trusted,"
Djimlah answered; ^^but they were brought
here because they are going to be separated."
^'What?" I almost screamed.
^'Yes," Dijmlah said quietly, ''they are
going to separate them, and I am going to
take care of the child and nurse it with my
''To separate them simply because they
love each other," I repeated, horrified; "why,
it is inhuman."
For the first time during my sojourn in the
harems I had to face Oriental barbarism. I
almost hated them, and the laws that gave to
parents such power over their children.
'^ It may seem inhuman to you, but it is the
only human thing to do, under the circum-
stances," Djimlah went on, unruffled. ^^ When
a man does not know how to love his wife,
then the parents have to come in and teach
him. Anyway, Nor-Sembah was born to be
a fairy, a lily, not a wife. She is a woman's
breath, not a real woman. Allah, one spring
day, must have made a beautiful dream, and
out of that vision must have come Nor-Sem-
bah ; but she was never created for the earth.
She is so wonderful that you want to pray
before her. Wait till you see her, you who
worship beauty, and who think that Aishe
Hanoum and I are beautiful."
"But, Djimlah, dear, will he consent to the
''He will have to. They are going to make
him marry a widow slave of about thirty-five.
Word has been sent out already to the vari-
ous harems, and by to-morrow pretty slaves
will be coming in."
''But it might kill Nor-Sembah to have
him take another wife, since she, too, is so
much in love with him."
"No, indeed, because she knows that it is
only a temporary marriage. At the end of a
year Hakif will be separated from the slave,
giving her a stipulated sum of money, and
then he will again be given back his wife —
stronger by that time, let us hope. That is
why they give him a woman of about thirty-
five, so that there will be no children to make
the marriage binding."
''And will he consent to this most Oriental
of arrangements?" I could not help asking.
"He will have to," was the decisive reply.
" Everything is arranged. He will either have
to do this, or his marriage will be annulled.
The old people have seen to everything."
I was so much disgusted that I could
hardly keep from telling Djimlah what I
thought of the whole arrangement.
"Don't be a sentimental fool, little blos-
som," she adjured me. " What the old people
want to do is to save her and him, if they can.
Besides, he must learn to love his wife for her
— not for himself alone, as he is doing now."
That night I had the most distressing
nightmares. Now I dreamed that I was Nor-
Sembah, and again that I was the slave, and
sometimes I was both in one. I never wel-
comed the daylight with more pleasure than I
did the next morning. At the same time, I
felt for the first time in my relations with the
Turks that I was glad not to be one of them.
I was very impatient to see the girl about
whose happiness I was so much concerned.
After I had had my bath and breakfast,
Kondj^ told me in a semi-whisper that the
Valid^ invited me to go to her sitting-room.
"Is Hanoum Nor-Sembah there?" I
Kondje put her brownish hands to her
breast and exclaimed: "Oh! honored Ha-
noum, how you will love her ! you, who, like
us, love beautiful people so much." She
opened her eyes wide, as if to accentuate what
she was going to say next, and extended her
hands upwards as she did when in prayer.
'' She is a white jasmine ! She is the morning
dew on the roses ! She is Allah's own prayer ! "
Kondje was really so moved at the thought
of Nor-Sembah's beauty that she was trem-
I went down to the garden and carefully
chose the prettiest rose I could find, and
with my little offering went into the sitting-
The Valide rose from her seat near the girl
and came over to greet me. First she pre-
sented me to the girPs mother, then to the
girl herself, lying on her couch, and then to
Hakif Bey, who was sitting by the side of his
wife, holding her hand.
I went to the couch, took one of the young
woman's hands, and kissed it, giving her my
rose. She smiled at me, without saying a
word. I took a seat near her, and do what I
could, it was impossible for me not to stare at
her. Djimlah had said the truth, the child
seemed to be of divine origin. Her beauty
was quite unearthly. I could see how one
could become mad for love of her, though
she was not really a woman even now, being
undeveloped, like a child. Standing up she
would probably have been taller than the
average, but lying on her couch she looked so
fairy-like, so frail! Her skin was so trans-
parent that her veins showed in fine blue
lines. Her eyes were very large and almond-
shaped, and shaded by jet black lashes. Her
nose and mouth were of pure Greek model-
ling — indeed, there was not one flaw to be
found in her appearance. She was dressed in
a soft brocade of cream color, embroidered in
pale blue flowers.
Though I knew that she was quite ill
there was nothing of the sick person about
her. Her gown was cut low at the neck in
V-form, displaying her delicate throat, which
was like the stem of a flower, as the Valid6
put it. Her wavy, blue-black hair, in two
long braids, lay on her breast.
The longer I looked at her the more I real-
ized that what really made her so beautiful
was neither her wonderful skin nor the ex-
quisite modelling of her face, but a flower-
like candor, and an indescribable purity that
emanated from her whole personality.
It has always been a mystery to me that the
Turks, who can produce such types of purity
as we can hardly conceive of in our Western
civilization, should be supposed by us to be
voluptuous and sensual. Quite often, in look-
ing at certain children of the Latin and Anglo-
Saxon races, I find myself wondering what
kind of love could have given them birth, so
animal-like are they in expression and de-
portment. With the ordinary Turkish child
it is quite different. Often on meeting a
group of them, and especially of little girls,
I have stopped and watched them with plea-
sure, because they looked so pure, so simple,
above all so childlike.
One day when I was wondering on this
subject, I asked the Valide, with whom I
happened to be, whether the children re-
flected the fathers or the mothers more.
''A child is neither its father nor its mo-
ther,'' she answered me. 'Xhildren are
either the products of the highest type of love
— a divine conception almost — or of an in-
tellectual love almost as high; or else they
are mere animal creations, or, lower yet, the
results of evil and voluptuous desires."
The Latin races will talk of the sexual rela-
tion of men and women in a way to take from
it all sanctity, all poetry, all romance. The
Anglo-Saxons seldom touch on the subject,
for it is something not to be mentioned. The
high-minded Oriental, differing from both,
will speak of it freely, either with reverence,
as one does of religion, or with poetic feeling,
as one does of the coming of the spring or
the babbling of the brook. It is to him either
big and overwhelming, as one's faith toward
one's God, or lighter, but very exquisite.
The Valide, that day, while we sat amid
the pine trees, spoke about human love with
a mysticism and reverence as if she were in
the presence of the great Allah in whom she
believed so fervently. Whether her ideas were
taken from some Eastern book or belief of
which I had never heard, or whether they
were her own, I do not know.
"When two human beings come together,
yavroum, some motive brings them together.
Generally the motive is love; but love, like
every other thing in life, has its degrees. The
highest of all is the unconscious offering of
one's heart, not to the man or the woman as an
individual, but to the man or woman as the
earthly incarnation of the deity of love. This
is the highest love, and the children that
spring from that love must be perfect. This
must have been the way we were first created,
and the mortal sin which our ancestors com-
mitted, I believe, was when they forgot this
conception of love and degraded what was
once a divine conception into a mere physical
relation. However, I believe that we still
retain the divine spark within us, and that
it may be rekindled, and that the children
born from such a perfect love are our perfect
human beings. Such a birth must have had
our prophet, and your prophet, and all the
prophets that have lived in the history of the
'*But the majority of people marry from
motives other than the highest love. If these
motives be social or mercenary, the children
born from such unions are the indifferent hu-
man beings one sees. There are motives even
baser, and from these we have the moral and
physical cripples. Perhaps this thought may
have been in the minds of the ancient Greeks
when they condemned the physically crippled
children to death. The moral cripples they
could not know till they grew up."
This conversation with the Validd came
back to me as I was looking in speechless
admiration at the exquisite beauty of Nor-
Sembah. From my revery the sick girl's voice
awakened me. It was the voice one might
have expected from such a perfect creature.
*^The Valide tells me that if I ask you, you
will read me a little of the French poetry."
From under her pillow she drew a volume
of Victor Hugo's ''Feuilles d'Automne," and
thus, thanks to French poetry, I saw a little
more of the girl than I otherwise should.
While I was reading to her, the young hus-
band sat watching his wife. It might have
been my imagination, but I had the feeling
that the intensity of his gaze tired her, that
had he gone out she would have rested
The next day I went to read to Nor-Sem-
bah again, as I had promised. In the sitting-
room, on this day, there were the two fathers,
in addition to the two mothers and the young
husband. I started to leave the room, when
I saw them all there, but the Valide and the
young wife asked me to stay, and though,
afterwards, I would have given a good deal
not to have been there, it was my fate to be
present at the only disagreeable scene I wit-
nessed during my stay among the harems,
and one which seemed to me quite at vari-
ance with their great ideas of love.
A buxom, good-looking slave came into the
room, magnificently dressed, and offered us
some sweets from a tray she was carrying.
With the exception of Hakif Bey we all took
some, and Nor-Sembah raised her head a
little and followed with her eyes the move-
ments of the slave. Hakif Bey not only did
not take any sweets, but while the slave was
in the room kept his eyes fixed on the garden.
Nor did he turn his head once, while slave
after slave came into the room on various pre-
texts. At last, when all had come and gone,
like dress models in a Parisian shop, Selim
Pasha came up to his son and taking his chin
in his hand looked into his eyes.
'^ As you like, my son, as you like," he said.
^^ If you do not choose for yourself, we shall be
compelled to choose for you. As you like, I
Hakif Bey's face was dark with resentment.
^' Why do you expect me to want another wife,
when my heart is filled with one only ? I shall
do what you want me to : I shall go away —
but let me at least go alone. Why must I have
"Because her womanly sympathy may
make the year of waiting easier for you," the
older man said, very kindly indeed. ''There
is no need, my boy, for your ever seeing her.
But the human heart is weak and craves for
sympathy. We want to provide against that."
Hakif Bey was about to reply angrily. One
could see that from his face, and from the
way he drew his head away from his father's
hand. But here Nor-Sembah interfered.
With a quick movement she laid her head on
his shoulder and took one of his hands in
hers, while with the other she grasped the
older man's robe.
''Father," she implored, "let little Nor-
Sembah choose for her lord. It will make her
so very happy to find him a good woman who
will be near him while she is getting stronger.
I will take some days about it, and I will
make sure that it is a good woman — but I
will do it, father; trust little Nor-Sembah!"
wShe smiled so sweetly and so bravely that
I knew her cause was won. The older man
kissed her and left the room.
That afternoon I went with the Valide to a
shrine where she was going to pray. With us
was only one other slave besides the eunuch.
After the prayer was over we went to a little
brook to have our luncheon, while the horses
were resting. After luncheon the slave lay
down under a big tree and went to sleep, and
the eunuch drew off a little way, yet keeping
us under his protecting eye. The Valide and
I took off our shoes and stockings and put our
feet in the brook, and then took our work
from our bags and began to sew. Thus do the
Turkish women often sit for hours at a time.
*^What do you think of my boy, Hakif
Bey?" she asked, after she had taken a few
stitches on her embroidery.
"I think he is a splendid fellow," I an-
^'Does he look to you as if he could stand
his earthly sorrow like a man?"
** Do you mean the cruel separation you are
all preparing for him?" I asked, hotly.
** There! there! little one, don't get excited.
We are doing our best."
''Suppose," I cried, indignantly, "suppose
the girl dies while he is away — what then?"
The Valid^ laid her work down in her lap,
clasped her hands together, and said, ever so
quietly: ''Nor-Sembah is going to die, little
one; the great doctor said so two days ago."
I was choking. "You mean to say that,
knowing this, you are trying to send him
away with another wife, and not let them be
together during her last hours?"
''Though the great doctor said she was
going to die, we still cling to the hope of sav-
ing her. Sometimes even great doctors can
be mistaken. There is gusel vereni in the
family, and hers developed three years ago.
She was so happy when she first married
that for a time the disease seemed to be
checked. But the gusel vereni came back
to her worse than before."
Gusel vereni is a disease that I have only
heard of among the Turks. It is akin to our
consumption, except that the patient loses
nothing of her looks, and quite often seems to
grow more beautiful as the end approaches,
whence the name, which means ^^ beautiful
Notwithstanding the Valide's reasoning, I
still pleaded with her. ^'Do not send him
away, Valide; it might kill him, too."
^^But we want to send him away to save
him. If he stays here and she dies, he will
kill himself. If he goes away, she might get
well ; and if she does not, we will not tell him
for a year. We will take his child to him,
and he may learn to love it, and for its sake
care for life a little."
''But it is so cruel for her," I still per-
'^No, no, yavroum, she does not suffer.
She is earnestly looking for a good woman.
She never thinks for an instant that she is
going to die. If the end comes, she will not
even know it; for it comes very beautifully
and quietly, almost always when the patient
is asleep. All her family died like this. She
has been very happy since her marriage, and
all her life has been a sweet-scented spring."
When the day came for me to leave the
harem, I was sorry. I wanted to stay and see
the outcome of that little tragedy. I only
knew Nor-Sembah slightly, but sometimes I
wondered if she had not assumed the task
of finding a wife for her husband only in
order to gain time; or whether it was with the
idea that little by little he would get accus-
tomed to the thought and choose one for him-
self. At any rate, when I left the household
to go to Russia, a week or ten days later, the
question was not yet settled, although she had
seen a number of slaves and had had short
talks with them.
My journey to Russia was very absorbing.
I saw many strange scenes and met many in-
teresting people; yet the Turkish lovers were
constantly in my mind. Neither did I forget
them on my return to Constantinople in the
rush of getting off to America. I wrote a
note to the Valide, and sent it by a messenger,
who was to wait for an answer. The answer
came from Aish^ Hanoum, the third wife of
Selim Pasha, who told me that both the
Valide and Djimlah were in the Stamboul
home, where I could go to see them.
I broke a day's engagement, and set out for
Stamboul. When I reached the house, the
Valide's eunuch opened the door for me and
ushered me in. I found the Validd in her
room, but what a difference there was in her
countenance ! As soon as I saw her I knew
that the girl was dead. I threw my arms
around her and began to cry.
'' Don't ! don't, my child ! Don't go against
Allah's wishes. Maybe they are happier
than we know. Kismet!"
^'They!" I cried.
^^ Sit down there, and I will tell you." In a
voice which was dry from pain, and abso-
lutely colorless, the Valide told me the end of
^^ She only lived two weeks after you went
away. Allah took her to him very gently, and
Hakif was at her side. He was very quiet
and dutiful. He went about the place and
chose a grave for her. She was fond of the
sea and the pine trees, and he bought a piece
of land with pines overlooking the Bosphorus.
There they put her to sleep, and Hakif came
quietly home. That night it rained hard and
there was a summer storm. Hakif, in the
middle of that stormy dark night, and while
every one was in his own room, perhaps
thought of the lonely little grave at the foot
of the pine trees overlooking the Bosphorus.
Perhaps her spirit came for him and called
him to her. He saddled his horse himself, and
went to sit with his wife in her new home.
'' Early in the morning the gardener found
the horse, without rider, outside his door.
We hunted for Hakif everywhere. Then
his father and I went to the little grave by the
sea. There, lying on her grave, was Hakif,
quite, quite dead."
''He killed himself?" I whispered.
''No! no! yavroum. The doctor said that
after he was drenched by the rain, he prob-
ably fell asleep on the grave, and a chill killed
him — but I know. Allah, in his supreme
clemency, took him to his heart, and gave him
back his bride, now cured from all earthly
ills. And now by the foot of the pines, over-
looking the Bosphorus, there is no longer a
solitary little grave; for there is another that
keeps it company."
This was the end of the two lovers, whose
love was the cause of their death. Often I
find myself dreaming of them, when heaven's
lamp burns low, and when the imagination
roams into the realm of the world beyond.
Is she an houri now? and has he become
pure as the first man whom God created?
and are they walking together in the Garden
of Eden, if that is now above? It is unfor-
tunate that some one will always come in to
light the lamp, when one's thoughts have gone
farther and farther away, until almost one has
reached the river over which the soul alone
may go. But in the dusk the lights must be
lighted, and the wandering thoughts are
brought back from the boundary which di-
vides this world from that which is to come.
The litde boat with Charon waiting in the
stern resolves itself into a morris chair; and
the angel who was ready to divest my soul
of my body emerges from the gloom as a
bookcase, while the angePs flaming copper-
colored hair is only the back of some bril-
liantly bound book. And of all the musings
there only remains the thought that some day
I shall cross the river which the lovers have
crossed, and that then I shall meet again
my beautiful Nor-Sembah, and know the
fate of the lovers.
A DAY'S ENTERTAINMENT IN THE
The next to the last day of my visit to
Djimlah Hanoum was to be devoted to a
bath-party in my honor. This had been
promised me before Nor-Sembah arrived,
and the Valide would not give it up even
after she saw how really ill her daughter-in-
law was. The Orientals have a sense of
hospitality far greater than ours. No sorrow
or trouble of their own must interfere with
the discharge of their duties as hosts. And
although we all felt the approach of the great
unavoidable one, who comes at the predes-
tined time to take our dear ones to a better
world, still they never considered relinquish-
ing the party they had promised to give me.
It was to be an all-day afifair, and the in-
mates of several of the harems in the vicinity
had been invited. That morning the plain-
tive sound of the Albanian flute woke me up
very early. From the platform on which my
bed was made I could see the shepherd in
his quaint clothes mounting the hill, behind
his flock. It was so early that the light was
grayish, and the hills half lost in a violet haze.
So quiet was the world that the prat ! prat 1
prat! of the sheep's feet, advancing to the
tune of the flute, was quite audible.
I left my platform and went to the window.
How different life seemed to me through this
latticed window from what it had seemed
only a short time before in New York ! As
I watched the day creeping across the Bos-
phorus from Asia, I thought of the course
of my life during the past six years. I had
worked with the Americans, studied with
them, and learned to think their ways. And
after six years of hurrying, of striving as if
life counted only by the amount of work
done, of knowledge acquired, I was back
again in the calm leisure of Turkey, where
eternity reigned, and no one hurried. Not
to stay, for I fear that he who tastes of
American bustle can never again live for long
without it. Yet as I stood at my window I
was happy — happy to have nothing to do —
happy merely to live for the pleasure of
Everything around me breathed peace and
contentment. Among the Orientals I am
always overwhelmed by a curious feeling of
resigned happiness, such as the West can
hardly conceive of. I was talking about the
Turks, lately, with some very intelligent
American men, and it was only then I fully
realized the impossibility for the Occidental
mind, and especially for the active and rest-
less American mind, to comprehend the
*^You cannot convince me," said one of
my American interlocutors, ^^that human na-
ture is different in Turkey from what it is in
But that is exactly what is, in a measure,
the fact. And to be able to judge the Orien-
tals one has, like me, to be born among them,
to live their life for a time, and to breathe the
air of contentment that fills their homes.
Nowhere is the idea of the greatness of the
Deity felt as among the Orientals. When
they tell you that God is great, and that
God alone knows what is good for you, you
believe it. We, on the other hand, believe
that it is for us to choose our course, to take
the initiative. God with us is only a coad-
jutor: ''God helps those who help them-
selves," as our proverb teaches us from in-
A breeze shook the graceful mimosa trees
beneath my window. The soft, penetrating
perfume of that essentially Oriental flower
rose, and brought to my mind the remem-
brance of my first meeting with Djimlah,
before either of us was in her teens. It was
on the Bay of the Bairam. I had gone with
my father to pay a series of calls on Turkish
dignitaries. In one place we were received in
an immense garden, where we were refreshed
with sherbet and given little baskets of sweets
to take home with us. My father and our host
became engaged in a political discussion;
and I, feeling myself unobserved, trotted ofif
exploring. Presently I came upon a grove
of mimosa trees. I wanted some of the flow-
ers. They were just out of reach. I could
have climbed the tree, but I had been told
that I should have to be careful of my frock,
if Papa were to take me with him. As I stood
there, longing, a little girl spoke to me in
Turkish : —
*' Would you like to have some of those
"Yes, but I cannot reach them. Can
you?" I asked. She was taller than I.
"I cannot reach them either." She scru-
tinized me, and added: *'You are a Frank
child, aren't you?"
I drew myself up, my blood boiling. One
has to be born in Constantinople to under-
stand what the word means to us. By it we
designate the mongrels who are neither of
the Greek nor Turkish faith, and whom one
of our poets characterized as the bastards of
*' I am no Frank," I cried. '' I am a Greek,
which is a greater race than yours."
In Turkey we learn early to defend our
nationality. Perhaps that is the reason why
the good Greek stock comes from there.
In a friendly tone the little girl responded :
*'It is nice to be a Greek, and not a Frank.
But your race is not so great as mine. This
is my country, not yours."
I was only eight years old, but I had been
brought up on the wonders of Greece, and
knew all the glorious deeds of the heroes of
'21. I glared at the little girl. She was a
Turk, taller and stronger than I, but I was
not afraid of her.
''You have only had this country a few
hundred years," I shouted. ''It was mine
before it was yours. My forefathers ruled
here when yours were savages. Constanti-
nople is mine, by rights, not yours — and
what is more I can lick you."
I took a step towards her, full of militant
She shook her head. ^^This is my grand-
father's garden; you are under our roof: it
would not be polite to fight you." Oriental
children learn the holiness of hospitality as
early as Greek children learn of their past
glories. '' I saw you come in with your father,
and when you came this way, I came, too,
to make friends. You can have some mi-
mosa — all you like."
''I cannot reach it," I said, still sullen.
*' You can climb up on my back and get it."
She leaned over against the trunk. I scram-
bled up on her back, and picked many of the
flowers. I offered her a few.
*^ You may keep them all," she said; ''they
I was relenting, but not very rapidly. I
should have liked to be friends, had she not
reminded me that her race had defeated mine.
We, from the still enslaved parts of old Greece,
are born with that sore spot in our hearts.
When it is touched it hurts.
'^I will give you my basket/' she went on,
holding out her little hand. ^^It came from
our Patissah's palace. The candy in it is
I took her hand, and soberly we walked
about the garden together.
''My name is Djimlah," she volunteered
presently, ''and yours?''
I told her.
"I hke you very much," she went on.
Before we reached the place where my
father was still deep in politics, we had for-
gotten the differences with which our friend-
ship had begun. She climbed up on her
grandfather's knees, and begged him to per-
suade my father to let me stay with her for
a few days.
The old pasha was an influential man:
my father was a Turkish subject. I stayed.
That night Djimlah and I slept in the
same little bed, on the floor of her grand-
mother's room. It was my first introduction
to a harem. After that I often stayed with
her, and came to know other Turkish girls,
and visited other Turkish harems. Notwith-
standing our different nationality and faith,
Djimlah and I became fast friends. Neither
time nor separation made us forget each
While I was lost in my reminiscences,
shepherd and sheep had disappeared over
the purple hills; and gradually I became
aware that other sounds were replacing the
melody of the flute that had passed beyond
my hearing. Outside my door there was the
soft padding of bare feet, now approaching,
now receding, as if in suppressed excitement.
I clapped my hands, and Kondje rushed into
''What is happening, child?'' I asked.
Kondjd smacked her lips, and salaamed
profoundly. ''They are preparing for the
bath-party, glorious Hanoum, which they
are to give to-day in your honor." Another
salaam. ^^Houri of Paradise, if you will let
me dress you now, and bring you your coffee,
you may be ready to see the guests arrive,''
she said in coaxing tones.
^'Kondje, my dear, I am Just as anxious
to see their arrival as you are, so make haste."
While I was drinking my coffee, Kondj^
again whirled into my room, like a leaf in a
hurricane, and cried : —
''Most glorious one! my heart's own little
one ! [She was at least six years younger than
I.] Light of my pupils! I have just seen a
speck of dust over the hilltops. That can
only be the arriving guests."
She flashed before my eyes a yellow silk
gown. ''See! I brought this for you. It will
make your beauty look as tender as the
bloom of a ripe peach."
Without more ceremony Kondj^ started
dressing me. When I was ready, she in-
spected me critically and decided that with
some red beads around my throat and hair
I should be as attractive as a beautiful pome-
granate — disregarding the fact that a mo-
ment before I was to be a peach. She rushed
from the room and returned in a minute with
the desired ornaments.
^' Where did you find them, Kondj^?" I
She made a face at me, gave me two kisses
on each cheek, and ordered me to keep still.
Only one thing troubled her.
"Baby mine, Allah's little flower, won't
you let me put a little black on your eye-
brows and lids, and throw a little gold dust
on your hair ? Ah ! but you would be won-
derfully beautiful then."
"Kondje, you may do anything else you
like with me; but you are not to put any
black about my eyes."
She rushed over and gave me an implor-
ing hug. ''Dear one, don't you know that
Allah wants people to look their prettiest?
You know that at the entrance to Paradise
husbands are asked first of all whether they
have kept their wives provided with the
proper number of black pencils for their
''As I have not a husband to be bothered
about it at the gate of Paradise, I think that
I will get along without them," I parried.
''But you may dye my finger-nails red, after
Kondje fell to the floor, grabbed her bare
toes, and rocked back and forth, laughing
till the tears flowed from her eyes. " Oh ! I
do love the way you say things," she gasped.
"You said I might chop your fingers off,
when really you meant that I might put
color on them."
Having failed in the matter of putting
black about my eyes, Kondje — when her
amusement over my Turkish was exhausted
— contented herself with the golden powder
for my hair, and then stood off and studied
me from every point of view, to see if she
had not overlooked some hidden charm,
which might be brought out. I do not know
how long she would have kept this up, had
not the sound of music come to our ears.
At this she bounced into the air like a rubber
ball, and before I knew what was about to
happen, she picked me up and threw me on
her back like a sack of meal, and ran through
the halls with me as if my weight were no-
thing. She deposited me on the little indoor
balcony of the vestibule, dropped to the floor,
and panted at her leisure.
"Kondje!'' I remonstrated, ''you must
not treat me as if I were a baby."
She rose up till her fiery black eyes were
on a level with mine. ''You are a great deal
more of a baby than I am!" she declared,
"though I am not yet sixteen, — and besides,
you have n't a husband."
"Neither have you," I snubbed back.
Her face took on a droll expression. She
batted her eyes mischievously, and brought
her mouth close to my ear. "I am going to
have one when the leaves fall,'' she whispered.
''You dined with Selim Pasha — yes?"
''You saw a big handsome man there,
standing by the door, seeing that everything
was right — yes?"
I nodded again.
"Most beautiful — hey?" She smacked
her lips and half closed her eyes.
"I think he is, Kondje."
" I shall be his. He has even seen my face
and touched my hand. I am to live in the
little cottage on the hill, so as not to be far
from my mistress."
Before Kondje's confidences had come to
an end, the other members of our household,
dressed in gala costume and preceded by the
Valide, came down the stairs and filled one
side of the hall. The wives with their children
were in the first row, and the slaves behind.
Two dancing-girls, holding baskets full of
flowers, on their bare shoulders, stood by
the door, and several African eunuch boys
were near them with brass trays filled with
the petals of roses.
As the guests entered the hall the flower-
petals were thrown over them. One by one
the new-comers ranged themselves on the
opposite side of the hall. When all were in
place, the salutations began. Down to the
floor went all the heads, to be raised grace-
fully, and to go down twice more. Then
music burst forth, and the ladies of the dif-
ferent harems embraced one another. Their
wraps were taken off, and they were con-
ducted to the sitting-room to drink coffee.
There I was presented to them.
'^Here is our little one," said the Valide.
*' She is leaving us to-morrow to flutter farther
on her way. She has not yet found her golden
cage." She put her hand on my head. *' My
little one, there is no happiness except in a
prison where the jailer is the lover and the
The guests applauded these words, and
some came over and kissed me. I was espe-
cially attracted by a certain woman, whose
type I had never met in flesh and blood be-
fore. To say that she looked like a Rossetti
painting would be doing her scant justice,
yet it was of the Blessed Damosel I thought
when I saw her.
I crossed the room and went to her. " You
speak French?" I asked.
She took my hand in both of hers, leaned
forward and kissed me several times on the
eyes. **So I do, little one."
Our talk was trivial, but the woman be-
came more and more interesting to me.
Abruptly she said at length : —
''You will come and spend a day or two
"I am sorry, but I can't," I answered. "I
am going to Russia in a few days, and have
things that I must attend to."
She put her arm around my waist. "Never
mind, you must come to me for a night, at
least. I came here to-day especially to ar-
range about it. I had heard so much about
you, and I am in trouble and need your
The entreaty in her voice, and the hint in
her words carried away my imagination,
and regardless of all duties I found myself
pledged to go to her on the following night.
A bevy of slaves, attired in the lightest of
diaphanous garments, now entered the room,
and salaaming with forehead to floor an-
nounced: '*If the honorable company is
ready, so is the bath-house." And to the
sound of music they accompanied us to it.
It was a coquettish little building, fairy-
like in its arrangement, and was a monu-
ment to the love of Selim Pasha for his first
wife. I was told that he had seen to every
detail of it himself, and that only when it
was completely finished had he conducted
his bride to it. Though a separate building,
it was connected with the main house by a
glass corridor, heavily curtained. We en-
tered a large marble hall, with a big fireplace,
wherein the coffee was always made. The
walls of the hall were composed of small
pieces of marble, of different colors, in various
patterns, so that at first sight they looked
as if covered with pale Oriental rugs. The
hall was three stories high, to the roof, and
the ceiling was decorated with a row of
dancing cupids. Ten marble steps, running
the whole width of the room, led up to a
raised landing, whence windows looked into
the garden. From this landing, slender
marble columns supported a balcony, from
which the dressing-rooms opened, on the
second floor. Rich rugs, and brocade hang-
ings, and mirrors on doors and ceilings,
made the bath-house stunning. In the dress-
ing-rooms the colors were reds and browns,
giving a curiously autumnal effect.
When we went to our dressing-rooms my
little Kondje took possession of me, and
after making me ready for the bath, threw
over my shoulders a lovely pestemalj a big
soft white towel with yellow stripes of thick
silk running through it.
" This, most honored Hanoum, is for your
greatness, from the Valide, honored and be-
loved first wife of Selim Pasha, the Magnifi-
cent. As you are the guest of the party,"
she explained, '^all the ladies will give you
She took down my hair, braided it in two
braids, and arranged it on top of my head,
fastening it tightly ink head-kerchief of pale
yellow silk, the edge of which was trimmed
with silver thread.
"This, honored Hanoum," Kondje an-
nounced again, "is for your greatness, from
the second wife of Selim Pasha, the Mag-
She took from a little box a chain with
two coral pendants, and placed it around
my forehead. "This, honored Hanoum, is
for your greatness. It comes from Aishe
Hanoum, third wife of Selim Pasha, the
She stepped back a few steps to survey
me, her head on one side ; smacked her lips
with satisfaction, and salaamed. ''Now,
honored Hanoum, you may proceed, and I,
the humble one, will follow."
As I came out of my room several other
pestimal-covered ladies, barefooted and
barearmed, emerged from theirs, and we
salaamed most profoundly, as if attired in the
most formal manner, before we went down-
stairs. There, Djimlah — as Kondje would
have put it, fourth beloved wife of Selim
Pasha, the Generous — greeted me and
presented me with a pair of takouns. They
were of carved oak, and the leather straps
which fastened them to my feet had my
monogram on them in silver.
The heads of the other households also
gave me various trinkets, mostly charms
against the evil eye; and amid the singing of
slaves we went into the bathing-room. The
sight that greeted us when the door was
opened was beautiful in the extreme. The
marble rooms were decorated from floor to
ceiling with laurel, and the marble settees,
in the middle of the rooms, were masses of
color, being covered with flowers, in pots.
We passed in through a human lane of
slaves, who relieved us of our pestemals; and
thus, chaussees, coiffees, mats pas hahilUes,
we entered, leaving outside all self-conscious-
ness; and soon the splashing of the water,
the singing of the slaves, and the laughter of
all filled the huge resounding rooms with
the gayest of noise.
Each lady was in the hands of her slave,
and my little Kondje was droller than ever.
In her flowery Oriental language she invested
me with all the beauties of the world. The
Venus of Milo was nothing in comparison
with me, whose size is that of a Jap. While
she was bathing me she kept on repeating,
^'Mashallah! mashallah!" lest some djinn
or ev-sahib, seeing my beauty, might be
tempted to cast an evil eye on me.
The temperature of these rooms was 170°,
yet we stayed in them for hours, oblivious of
the heat. After an hour, the flowers withered,
and were removed; the settees were washed,
and light refreshments brought in. Near the
end of our stay a regular cold luncheon was
served, and I may say here that the cold
dishes prepared for ^^haman" are worthy
of poetry for their description. We sat on
the settees as we ate, with a slave on each
side : one to pass us the new dishes, the other
to take away those we were through with.
Luncheon over, our pestemals were thrown
over us and we passed out of the hot rooms
into the cooling-rooms, where, as we lay on
the couches, the slaves covered us with heavy
burnouses. A new pleasure was awaiting us
here. While we had been bathing, the re-
clining-room had been decorated with leaves
and flowers, in the form of numerous arches.
Under these we lay on snowy sheets and
pillows, wrapped in our silk coverlets, while
our hair was taken down and rubbed with
rose-petals, before being tied up in soft,
absorbent towels. Next came the dyeing of
eyebrows, and lashes black, and of finger-
nails crimson; and, last of all, the flower-
The heavy hangings were now lowered
over the windows, till the light was dim, and
then to the sound of a low, murmuring song
we fell asleep and rested till late in the after-
noon. Immensely refreshed we woke up,
dressed, and went out on a hill to watch the
setting sun. The Turks are not sun-wor-
shippers, but to miss a sunset with them is
almost as great a misdemeanor as to omit
praying when the muezzin calls the faithful
to prayer from the top of the minaret.
That night, after dinner, we had our third
pleasant surprise when the Valide presented
to us the world-famed story-teller, Massaljhe-
Hiran. She salaamed to us with as much
dignity as does Paderewski before he takes
his seat at the piano. She was dressed in
dark red silk, embroidered with green leaves.
Her hair was braided, arranged on top of her
head, and surrounded with a green silk head-
kerchief, on which patterns were worked in
garnets. Her face, long, thin, and sallow,
was very pale, accentuating a pair of large
black eyes, which were made to look larger
yet by black pencilling. Her lips were dyed
brick-red. A pair of earrings, so long as to
touch her shoulders, gave a barbaric aspect
to her Eastern face. Her sleeves were of
fleecy material and quite loose, her arms
being covered with ancient bracelets. Her
hands, interesting-looking rather than pretty,
were literally covered with rings, — presents,
mostly, from the powerful of the land.
She took her place in the middle of the
floor, removed a pair of embroidered red
slippers from her feet, and sat down cross-
legged on a cushion. All the ladies and slaves
sat around her in the form of a semicircle.
A few among those present had heard her
before, but most of us knew her only by
reputation. In the attitude of that small
audience there was a worshipfulness that
strongly affected me. I felt that I was in the
presence of genius.
" Good-evening, honorable company," she
said, touching the floor with her fingers, and
then kissing them to us. Her voice had some-
thing of the same quality as Sarah Bern-
hardt's, only it was on a much lower key.
She began her story with a description of
a stormy night. Presently the woman next
me shivered, and unconsciously I drew a
scarf around me, before I realized with a
smile that we were in a warm room. The
story she told was her own; it was on the
same theme as that of Francesca da Rimini,
or Tristan and Isolde, but with Oriental ac-
cessories, and a different ending. It related
the fate of a young and beautiful Persian
princess, who, while on her way to become
the bride of a king, fell in love with the cour-
tier who had come to take her to her lord.
Princess Yamina, on discovering that the
man who was conveying her to be the bride
of the king had become master of her spirit,
had her tent put up, retired into it, and
placed around her couch twelve of her young
maidens, making thus of chastity and purity
an insurmountable barrier. She lay there,
praying to Allah for strength, and taking only
enough nourishment to keep the breath of life
in her frail body. When, once a day, it was
necessary for her to receive the King's envoy,
she sat erect, fortified by her maidenly pride,
while Love's tyrannical hand was tearing
at her bleeding heart. In two days she was
strong enough to continue her journey.
When she arrived at the castle and was re-
ceived by the King, an elderly benevolent
man, she prostrated herself before him and
told him the truth.
*''Kill me, my master,' she moaned,
'since I was not capable of bringing to you
intact the heart of your future wife. Pierce
with cold steel the body that is not worthy
of your love, but do not touch it even as you
might that of a slave; for it is polluted by
thoughts of love for another.'
'^ She lay there waiting to be slain. A side-
door opened without noise, and the young
courtier entered — he who had stolen the
heart and the thoughts of the prostrate
princess. He advanced into the middle of
the room and stood there with his arms
crossed on his noble breast. The princess
raised her head, saw him, and rose to her
feet, no longer trembling. She was the
woman, now, protecting her heart's lord."
The narrator paused and glared at us.
She was for the moment the woman ani-
mated by more than the instinct of self-
preservation — by the savagery of the woman
defending the man she loved. Her voice,
when she spoke, sounded thick: I felt as
if I were in a thunder-storm.
^^^Do not strike him, my master, he is in-
nocent! It is I who must pay the price —
I the guilty one. It is not his fault that Allah
made him so beautiful and noble that no
woman could help loving him. Kill me ! ' she
cried. 'Give me the most cruel death, but
Massaljhe-Hiranwas kneeling on one knee.
She begged and implored, and we saw the
princess herself passionately trying to save
the life of her lover.
In the end it turned out that the young
courtier was the King, and all ended hap-
pily. Such was the nervous pitch to which
Massaljh^-Hiran had wound us up, how-
ever, that many were sobbing when she
ended, and I suddenly became conscious
that the tears were trickling down my own
cheeks. Moreover, my muscles had become
so rigid, in the intensity with which I had
followed her story, that they actually pained
me when they became relaxed. Only on one
other occasion have I had the same feeling,
and that was when Henry Irving, as Robes-
pierre, faced the ghosts.
However, the Orientals seldom allow one
set of artificially produced emotions to domi-
nate them, and after the story- telling was at
an end, dancing-girls glided into the room,
and, to the sound of gay music, completed
the day's entertainment.
Thus ended my visit to Selim Pasha's
hospitable household, though not my expe-
riences with Turkish women. In my last visit
I was to hear a story, and to play a part in
it, which I know must seem almost incredible
to those who do not understand Turkey.
Djimlah, Houlme, and Aishe Hanoums,
with a retinue of slaves, came down to the
shore of the Bosphorus, where my unknown
lady's little caique was awaiting me, to see
me off. I was sorry to leave them, and
*^ Why not stay with us," suggested Djim-
lah hopefully; *' marry one of our men, and
I shook my head. Why I might not, I did
not know; except that, although the Greeks
may love and respect the Turks, may live
side by side with them, there must always
exist that antipathy of the blood to remind
us that they are our conquerors, and that
sometime we must drive them from our
land in order that the priests may finish the
holy litourghia,^ and our statues may no
longer be cold in exile.
Yet I bade my Turkish friends farewell
with a full heart and silent tears. I jumped
into the waiting catque, the catksti, in his
silky bembazar, pulled at his oars, and we
A FLIGHT FROM THE HAREM
As the boatmen rowed me swiftly from
one bank of the Bosphorus to the other, and
then along to the Sera'i Bournou, I gazed at
the illuminated city which displayed itself
before my dazzled eyes. It happened that
Constantinople was making herself beauti-
ful that summer night, to celebrate the an-
niversary of her ruler, the Commander of
Near and far the slender minarets were
covered with microscopic, many-colored oil
lamps, in various designs, the half-moon be-
ing the favorite. The balconies of the houses
of the wealthy were playing the same tune,
on a lower key, as the tall minarets, while the
banks of the most beautiful river in the world
were masses of lights. The city was alive;
the harbor was filled with ships adorned with
strings of lanterns from mast to mast; and
the horizon was ablaze with fireworks. One
would say that even the sky partook of the
festivities : its deep indigo was picked out in
golden stars, while a silvery moon was gazing
coquettishly at the thousands of half moons
that strove to reproduce her grace.
Arrived at the house of my Rossetti lady,
a slave took charge of me; and when I was
bathed and perfumed, and dressed in soft,
Oriental clothes, I was left to my own de-
vices. I crouched on the low divan by my
window and peeped through the lattice at
the splendors outside.
The door of my room creaked, and as the
light from the hall shone in I saw that it was
my hostess who had entered.
'^ Os-geldi ! Os-geldi ! " she called out. Her
two outstretched hands got hold of mine, and
she drew me to her bosom. ''My little blos-
som, what are you doing here in the dark?
Are you helping Allah to weave garlands for
'^I was looking at the beauty outside."
^^Nay, my little jasmine, from the tone of
your voice I know that you were in dream-
land. Some time dreams will be made true;
and may they come true in your life."
There was a pathos in her voice that I had
not detected at our previous interview. Ros-
setti's poem came back to me, and I said
aloud, gazing at her beauty : —
"Her body bore her neck as the tree's stem
Bears the top branch; and as the branch sustains
The flower of the year's pride, her high neck bore
That face made wonderful with night and day.'*
''Why do you say those lines?" my hostess
''Because you make me think of them."
"Do you mean that I look like Rossetti's
"I rather think you look like his poems:
you are the embodiment of them."
"And am I this to you?"
"Yes, you are this to me. Ever since I
first saw you I have been drawn to you. By
rights I ought to be somewhere else to-night,
but I am with you. It was of you I was
thinking when you came into my room. Do
you know, I do not even know your name.
That does not matter, though, for to me you
are my Rossetti lady."
The Turkish woman sat on the divan, near
me, her fingers playing with my loose hair.
''You are a sweet-scented little bride,"
she said irrelevantly. ''Where is the bride-
groom, little one?"
"Your slave just gave me a heliotrope
bath," I explained; "and as for the bride-
groom, I am afraid his grandsire died heir-
" Yavrounty you are a very dear person,
and I hope some day you will know the joy
of being a wife." She was silent for a long
time, and then asked, suddenly: "Shall I tell
you why I insisted so strongly at the bath-
party that you should come to see me?"
"Then it was n't because you liked me?"
"Yes, indeed, dear little flower of the
pomegranate tree. The minute my eyes met
yours I knew that I liked you, and I knew
that you belonged to us Oriental women.
That is why I asked you to come. I wanted
to ask you to do something for me, something
which I can only trust to few ; and if I come
to you with my troubles the first minute of
your being under my roof, it is because I do
not want you to feel that after you have
broken bread with me you will be obliged to
do what you would not wish to. I will tell
you everything, and if when you have heard
me you wish to go away and forget me,
the little boat you came in is waiting for
My pulse quickened. What could she be
going to ask me to do?
^' Yavrounty^^ she went on, '' before I tell
you anything, do you know where this dwell-
ing of mine is?"
''No, you asked me to meet the boatman
so late that I scarcely know in which part of
the country it is."
" I am very glad. I want you not to know,
for your own sake."
Every word she spoke seemed to add to
the romance of the situation. I was to learn
the story of my Rossetti poem, and I felt sure
that it could be nothing less than a wonder-
ful love story. Bits of all the Oriental tales
I knew came thronging to my mind. I was
afraid to utter a word, lest I should break the
spell and she should withhold her confidence
from me. In my sojourn among the Turkish
women I had always been expecting to come
across some wonderful, out-of-the-common
romance; but their lives, when seen near at
hand, were generally as uneventful as the
most conventional Western life. Now, at
length, I felt that I was to learn of one that
would come up to my expectations.
"I was once a very beautiful woman," my
hostess began in the simple, un-self-conscious
manner of the East.
"Mashallah! are you not now?" I cried.
*^I would give my soul to look like you."
*^ Yes, I know I am good-looking still; but
a woman nearing thirty is not the same as at
twenty; and when I was twenty I was very
beautiful indeed. I was born and brought
up in Asia Minor, where my father was a
governor. My maternal grandmother, a
woman of advanced ideas, sent a French lady
to educate me, when I was only three; and
when I was fifteen, and my mother died, I
was brought to Constantinople and married
to my husband, who is ten years older than I
am. Three children were born to us, and
my life ought to have been very happy. And
it would have been if my head had not been
full of French stories. I read all the time,
and it made me feel that I, too, had the right
to be a heroine.
^^One day, when I was twenty years old,
I was going from my home to Foundokli in
my little caique. It was a hot afternoon and
I had my feredje thrown back a little, and
only had my veil around my face, not over it.
In mid-stream we met another catque in
which was a young foreigner. When he saw
me, he cried something aloud in his own
tongue, and from his look I knew that it was
of me he spoke. So I drew my veil close
over my face and brought the feredje around
me. This did not discourage the man, how-
ever, and he ordered his caique to follow
mine. It was a very dangerous thing he did,
and had my eunuchs been with me there
would surely have been trouble.
**He followed us to where we were going,
and then went away, apparently thinking
that that was my home. Two days later I
had partly forgotten the incident, though I
did think a good deal of the man and his good
looks, when his boat happened to meet mine
again. He exclaimed, this time in French:
^At last I have found her!'
''I don't need to go into particulars, but
the man did everything in his power to come
into my life. My husband was away at the
time, and I was alone, and lovesick, perhaps.
The foreign man managed to send me letters.
At first I resented his writing to me, and
would hardly read them; but he was very
young and handsome, and he wrote me such
letters as they write in books, and my head
became so turned by the romance of it that
some months after the time he first met me,
I left my husband, my home, and my babies,
and went with him.'*
My Rossetti lady had been telling me her
story in such a quiet, restrained voice that at
first even this climax did not seem startling.
^^Have I told you that he was an English-
man, and what they call a lord in his coun-
try? He took me to Scotland, and there
married me. The first three years went like
a dream. He did not keep me behind lat-
ticed windows, but he kept me under closer
watch than I had ever been before, and
guarded me as if he could never be sure of
me; though I was constantly in society and
saw a great deal of that world which had
always been such a mystery to me. I don't
know whether I loved him during those three
years or not. All I can say is that my life was
like a picture-book whose leaves were turned
very fast. He took me to his mother. He was
an only son, and she was very kind to me. I
do not think that besides his mother any one
knew that I was Turkish. He took me to his
court, and I meet his queen; and we went
from one place to another all over Europe.
He was very rich and liberal, and everywhere
we went I had a house of my own, but I was
always a prisoner.
^^It was in the south of France that my
baby was born. To think that Allah could
bless such a union with his most wonderful
gift!" she cried, clasping her hands to her
heart. "It was a little girl, and Edgar named
her Hope, because he said she was the hope
that I at last belonged to him entirely.
''When they put the baby into my arms I
knew why Allah had sent her to me. It was
like the breaking of a spell, the lifting of a
veil from my clouded vision, and I saw my
past life, my husband, and my babies loom
up as if from another world. From that
minute I had no peace of mind. Whether
asleep or awake there was only one thought
with me : my husband. I began to remember
all the little things he had done and said to
me, and gradually I began to worship him.
I wanted him as I never knew before that one
human being could want another. And all
that time I was loved, almost devoured, by
the man who had taken me away from my
home. I could not bear it. I began to plan
and plan how I might go back to my own
people and my own country.
^^When, as a girl, I had read about Euro-
pean life it had seemed to me so attractive,
so wonderful. But when I came to taste it,
it was empty and bitter. European women
have no friends, as we understand them.
They have no leisure hours to think and to
dream, and to come to know themselves and
their God. They do not even have time to
take care of their children; and nurses, with
whom they would not for anything in the
world associate themselves, are intrusted
with the sacred duty of forming their chil-
dren's minds. Indeed there is nothing sacred
in a European woman's life, — at least,
yavroum,^^ she modified her statement, '^not
in the lives of the women I have seen. Do
you know, little bride of the river, that
though Edgar had kept me so close to him,
lots of men had told me things they had no
business to tell me. Oh ! I was sick of it all.
Not once in all those dreary years had I met
with people who said, *If Allah wishes it,'
'If it is the will of Allah.' But I prayed and
prayed to my great Allah to let me return to
my own people. And he heard my prayer.
^' We were in Scotland, and an uncle of Ed-
gar's died, leaving him an estate and money.
Edgar had to go, and could not take me with
him because I was ill As soon as he went
out of the house I took pen and paper and
poured my whole heart out with it, and sent
it to my husband. I implored him to take
me back, even if he now had other wives ; to
give me just a little corner, from which I
could watch him and be near him.
*^I sent the letter, and waited. How slow
the days were, and at the end of each there
came a letter from Edgar full of his wild
love for me, which sickened my heart. Two
weeks had gone by ; Edgar was to come back
soon now, and no reply had reached me.
^' One evening as I was sitting in my room,
the tears trickling down on my breast, the
footman came to tell me that a tall, dark
gentleman, who refused to give his name,
wished to see me. I ran downstairs, and
there in the hall stood my husband.
''He took me into his arms, tears and all,
and an hour later I escaped with him, and
came back to my home. Before I left Scot-
land I wrote a letter to Edgar, telling him
that my husband had come for me, and that
I was going home to my people.
'^Yavroum, can you believe it, but my
husband still loved me, and my place in his
heart was still empty and waiting for me.
He forgave all; for he understood.
**A month had not gone by when Edgar
was in Constantinople. He came straight
to my husband and accused him of stealing
me away from him. It was a very danger-
ous thing to do, and any other man than my
husband would have had him killed and
thrown into the Bosphorus. But Ahmet Ali
ordered the carriage and told Edgar to come
with him and see me in my Stamboul home.
There he brought him into the sitting-room
and left him with me alone.
'' When Edgar saw me he held out his arms
for me; but the sight of him filled me only
^* I can never forget him, never. Yavroum,
whatever your life may be, be careful with
men. If you hurt one of them, and he turns
on you his sad eyes, they will follow you
through life. Sometimes when you will forget
and be happy playing with your baby, that
baby will look at you as the man did, and
there will be no joy for you. If you ever be-
long to one man, even though you may think
that there is no great love in his heart for you,
stay by him, and do no wrong.
**I was full of bitterness that day for Ed-
gar. I accused him of having done me a
very great wrong, though, in truth, the wrong
was mine. When I told him that I did not
love him, that I never had loved him, that it
was a silly girPs whim that took me to him,
I think he would have killed me if my hus-
band had not stepped in. Then he turned
furiously on Ahmet, and would have killed
him, I know, had not Ahmet been too quick
and too strong for him. He had a white
cloth, wet with some chemical, in his hand,
and forced this over Edgar's face; and after
a terrible struggle he threw him to the floor,
and there he presently lay as if dead, though
Ahmet said he was only unconscious. Then
instead of killing him, rriy husband had him
put on a ship that was going away.
**I did not hear of him again until two
years later, when Ahmet told me that Edgar
had been killed, and that his child was under
my husband's care. And now, yavroum, I
come to where I must ask you to help me.
Edgar's mother is having search made every-
where for the child ; even the Sultan has been
approached by the English ambassador. I
want you, yavroum, when you go back to
America, to write a letter to her and tell her
that Hope is happy and well; and that, con-
sidering that she has Turkish blood in her,
we are bringing her up as a noble Osmanli
woman should be brought up. Should the
child, however, when she grows to be a
woman, seem unhappy in Turkey, we will
send her back to her in England. But I must
teach her now, while she is little, something
of the greatness of Allah. Here, yavroum,
is the address to which to write."
Mechanically I took the piece of paper
with the address on it, and stared at my Ros-
setti lady as she finished her story and made
She was looking at me imploringly.
*' You will, yavrounij will you not? For if
the old duchess makes much fuss, I am afraid
I shall lose the child."
''Are you afraid of your husband killing
it?" I asked.
The horror in her face showed me that we
had got beyond the bounds of possibility.
''Oh, no! only she might have to be sent
into Asia Minor, to my husband's mother,
and then I should not have the chance to
watch over her myself, and to give her back
to England, if she should desire it."
"Hanoum, why don't you send her now ?"
I asked. " She is English through her father,
and she is the only child that grandmother
My Rossetti lady's face was again nearly
as horror-stricken as before.
" Give the child to be brought up among
that godless set of people. No ! no ! I could
not do it! Besides, my pasha would never
hear of it. He says that the little girl is partly
I, and that he could never give any part of
me, no matter how small, to the infidels."
'' Do you want me to write under my name
or yours?" I asked.
''Neither, yavroum. Just any name, and
no address. I shall give you a little minia-
ture of the child, and Several pictures. Send
them to the grandmother, and tell her that
once a year pictures and news of the child
shall be sent to her, and that little Hope is
well and happy."
'' How can I say that, since I have not seen
the child?" I protested, rather feebly.
''You shall see her to-morrow."
I was not happy in the situation. I had
had my fill of romance, to be sure ; but I had
been dragged into playing a part in it that I
did not particularly approve of, although I
knew the futility of trying to play any other
part than that assigned to me. I looked out
of my latticed window upon the Bosphorus,
and as I looked the mystery of the East again
stole over my senses. I turned my eyes to
the woman, slim and graceful, and of a beauty
that I could well believe had inspired the love
it had in two men of alien races, and my
Western prejudices fell from me.
^'Dear Hanoum," I said, ''I will do what
you ask me to do/' Then emboldened by
the favor I was going to do for her, I asked,
as perhaps only in that dark room of another
world I could have asked : '' Do you love your
husband as much as you thought you did ? ''
She leaned over and took my hand.
*^Dear little blossom, you don't know
what love is, do you ? I love my husband a
million times more than I ever did before,
though the past can never be undone, and
whenever I feel my husband's eyes upon me
I shudder at the thought that he may possi-
bly be thinking of that other man. A woman
can never belong to two men — never! A
woman is a flower, and cannot be touched
by two persons without being polluted. The
past always comes between, yavroum; but
out of that sorrow I can be a good mother,
a good wife, now when the storm no longer
blows, though the trees have fallen, and the
wreckage is all around me."
She leaned forward on the divan, held her
palms upward, and prayed to her God : —
*' O Allah, take care of the living, and for-
give the dead!"
It seemed all in keeping with the night and
the woman, looking more than ever like the
embodiment of a poem, a greater poem now
than Rossetti ever wrote. She was the East
itself: the mysterious East, with its strange
ideas of love, and death, and of religion.
After one of those silences that seem a nat-
ural part of an Oriental conversation, my
Rossetti lady drew me to her and kissed me,
saying : —
** Little crest of the wave, you have helped
to give peace to one who has brought storm
to life. May the doing of this for me be
rewarded with a fund of happiness from
which you may draw daily." She rose to
her feet as she spoke. *'Come, let us go
down where you can meet my lord and my
They were in the dining-room, and had
apparently been awaiting us; for along the
wall stood a row of motionless slaves, one
hand, in military style, straight down at their
sides, the other supporting the dishes that
were on their heads.
*^This is my husband,'' said my hostess,
putting my hand into that of Ahmet Pasha.
*^Our American friend."
'^We are happy to have you among us,
young Hanoum; and this anniversary of our
great Pattishah will be doubly celebrated
by us hereafter,'' he said, with simple sin-
Ahmet Pasha was a Saracen evidently, not
a Turk, and as I looked at him I did not
wonder that my Rossetti lady had left the
Englishman and come back to him : I only
wondered that she had ever left him. In his
splendid uniform and his decorations he was
an almost ideal hero. I was surprised at his
taking dinner with us, but heard later that he
always ate with his wife except when there
were Turkish women present.
The children were very pretty and healthy
looking, and most devoted to their mother.
After the meal was over we were taken to the
Sultan's palace, where a midnight banquet
was served to a thousand pashas and foreign
grandees. We women sat with the women
of the palace in the gardens, watching the
fireworks, and refreshed with sweets and
sherbets every five or ten minutes.
Home again, and my Rossetti lady took
me to her room and showed me the necklace
of red rubies her husband had given her that
day, as is customary on public anniversaries,
and the neglect of which would have been
equivalent to a notice of impending divorce.
Next she opened her jewelry box and asked
me to choose from it anything that took my
fancy, since she wished to give me some-
thing. While we were examining the jewels,
and when she had begun to let down her
hair, Ahmet Pasha sent word to ask if he
might come in and join our conversation.
The Turks quite often turn night into day
when the fancy takes them. We did that
night; thus not going to bed until after five
As we sat there on the divan, my Rossetti
lady had her hair loose on her shoulders,
except for a ribbon holding it back from her
face. Ahmet Pasha gathered a strand of it
in his fingers, and turned to me.
'^ Did you ever see anything more exquisite
in your life?" he asked.
I had to admit that I had never seen any-
thing to equal it.
**Nor is there a woman more charming/'
he said, his Turkish politeness not permitting
him to declare in the presence of another
that she was the most charming of all.
My Rossetti lady took his hand and kissed
it in silence; and I thought I saw, together
with love, the gratitude of a woman who has
sinned and has been forgiven.
In the forenoon of the next day the Turkish
lady came to the house. With her were her
slaves and a child. At once I recognized
whose child it must be.
I took her on my lap, and spoke to her in
''Little girlie, what is your name?"
The child looked at her mother, put her
little finger in her mouth, and whispered : —
''I am mother's little Hope. But they call
me Salih^ Hanoum now."
''Do you like things here?" I asked.
"Yes; and soon I am coming back to live
with mother" ; and with the words she scram-
bled down and ran to my Rossetti lady.
This day was the last time I ever saw any
of the household of Ahmet Pasha. In a few
days I went to Russia, and some six weeks
later returned to Constantinople to take the
steamer for Naples, where I was to meet
the boat for America. The steamer was one
of those semi-freight afifairs that carry more
cargo than passengers, and spent a day or
two each at some eight ports before reaching
Naples. On the quay, as I was embarking
at Constantinople, a young Englishman had
been introduced to me by a member of the
Greek Legation. We two were the only first-
class passengers who made the whole trip
to , Naples, and naturally we became well
acquainted by the time we reached Sicily.
The night that the boat stopped at Palermo
we were sitting on deck. It was a warm Oc-
tober night, brilliant with starlight, a night
whose witchery plays the mischief with the
tongues of people. My Englishman lost the
reserve that he might have kept under a
northern sky, and began to tell me why he
had come to Turkey.
*^It was a wild-goose chase," he said, ^'and
I tell you I never wish again to have much
to do with your Turkish friends. I was hunt-
ing for a child, the child of my cousin; but
I might as well have been trying to kidnap
the Sultan." And interlarded with ^' don't
you know's" and ^^fahncy's," he told me
the story which two months before, again on
a wonderful southern night, gloriously illu-
minated, a Turkish woman had told to me.
^'You see Edgar could not stand it," he
concluded. ''Two years after she left him
he blew his brains out. No one knew the
woman was Turkish, except his mother, and
now myself. I met her once, and I tell you
she was the kind of a woman a man would
go mad over. Immediately after Edgar's
death the child was stolen, and my aunt was
almost prostrated by it. That is why I have
been hunting through Turkey for her."
''What makes you think that the child is
in Turkey?" I asked, making my voice as
steady as I could.
" Oh, the husband sent a letter from Paris,
saying that he had taken the child to bring
up in the truth faith; but you see we don't
know where they are. We don't even know
that they live in Constantinople, and Tur-
key is beastly big when you go on a hunt like
mine. All the same, I have an idea that had
I stayed much longer in the capital I should
have disappeared, too, and no one would
ever have heard of me again, although I
had the help of the Embassy."
My eyes were fixed on the lights of Pa-
lermo, and on Monte Pelegrino beyond, and
I did not speak. Perhaps my English friend
thought I was not as much interested in his
account as I might have been. If he had
only known how interested I was !
I thought of the addressed envelope down
in my trunk, and of the miniature and the
photographs of an English child. But this
was not mine to tell, nor would it have helped
him if I had.
The lights of Palermo twinkled cheerily at
us across the water; but behind them Monte
Pelegrino seemed to loom sardonically, as if
it were amused at the tiny struggles of the
insects at its feet, who called themselves
CAMBRIDGE . MASSACHUSETTS
U . S . A
THE BREAKING IN OF A
By MARY HEATON VORSE
" Clever ! Sparkling ! Full of quaint humor and crisp
description ! Altogether a book which will not disap-
point the reader. It is * different,* and that is one great
merit in a book/* — Brooklyn Eagle,
" It will puzzle holiday makers to find a better vacation
book than this. Those who go up and down the Sound
in yachts will find it especially pleasing ; it will appeal
to those who are fond of human nature studies ; may
be recommended even more decidedly to the serious
than to the young and frivolous ; a tonic to depression
and an antidote to gloom/' — N, V. Times,
"Charming, with its salt, sea-slangy flavor, its double
love thread, and its pleasant chapters dealing with
Long Island Sound, the Mediterranean, Massachusetts
Bay and Venetian lagoons.** — Chicago Record-Herald,
Illustrated by Reginald Birch. i2mo, ^1.50
HOUGHTON r^^ BOSTON
MIFFUN X^^ "^^^
COMPANY ralra NEW YORK
By TADAYOSHI SAKURAI
" ' Human Bullets ' is the most remarkable book, in a
literary and psychological way, brought out through the
war clash of Russia and Japan. It is the revelation at
once of the soul of a soldier and the moving spirit of a
people." — JVew York World,
*' The book as a whole is a singular and strikingly valuable
work, not only by reason of its vivid descriptions of the
stern side of war, but for its revelation of Japanese ideals
of patriotism and military duty." — Brooklyn Eagle,
" The story is told simply, but with such a touch of realism
that his word-pictures are distinctly picturesque. . . . The
author has shown rare literary skill, and the translator and
editor have not permitted the narrative to lose anything
of technical value." — Transcript^ Boston.
** It is an illuminating exposition of the Japanese mind, in
war and in peace. . . . The book furnishes a striking
picture of what war actually is, even under its most
humane aspects." — Bookman^ N. Y.
With frontispiece in color by the author
i2mo, $1.25 net. Postpaid $1.37
HOUGHTON f%^ BOSTON
MIFFLIN /^^^ "^^^
COMPANY mlra NEW YORK